SOURCE: Article One Partners

Article One Partners

February 20, 2012 22:35 ET

Article One Partners and Thomson Reuters Study Shows LTE Patent Leadership Essential for Future of Smartphone Market

NEW YORK, NY and BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwire - Feb 20, 2012) - Article One Partners (AOP), the world's largest patent research community, with Thomson Reuters, unveiled findings from a joint study of LTE patent portfolios. AOP and Thomson Reuters underwent a patent review process looking at all 3,116 patents and pending patents declared essential, as of September 30, 2011, by members of ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). Findings showcase that Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Ericsson have built the strongest LTE patent portfolios while also taking a leadership position in future LTE technologies.

Companies use patents as a way to differentiate from the competition and lead their industry. Patents protect a company's intellectual property and allow it to foster innovation. Companies use patents as a way to lead their industry and differentiate from the competition.

Cheryl Milone, CEO and Founder of AOP, is a co-author on the article. Ms. Milone provides:

"This report indicates portfolio growth through patenting of key trend technologies (e.g., Ericsson, Qualcomm, Samsung and Nokia) and acquisition (e.g., of the Motorola Mobility and Nortel portfolios). We expect that the LTE Standards process and litigation resolution over the next few years will result in a licensing regime for the smart phones industry to more closely resemble their forbearers, the telecommunications and computer industries. Patents rarely exclude competition in the long run, particularly where thousands of patents (today, 3000+ under ETSI LTE specifications) can apply to devices, access and content/applications."

To better understand the companies leading in this space, AOP and Thomson Reuters applied a three-stage review to identify the LTE patent leaders.

In stage one; Thomson Reuters determined the essentiality of each patent by comparing it with the ETSI LTE specifications as of November 18, 2011. Stage two involved prior art checking, or a review of prior art references that were part of the patent application process in the US and Europe. The prior art references were used by Thomson Reuters to evaluate the novelty and provide a novelty rating for each patent. Thomson Reuters found the leaders of the LTE standards essential and highly novel patents were Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Ericsson and LG. The results are the following:

Percentage of essential and highly novel patent ownership for the top five (5) companies identified by Thomson Reuters

TR 1 TR 2 TR 3 TR 4 TR 5
Nokia Qualcomm Samsung Ericsson LG
18.9% 12.5% 12.2% 11.6% 7.5%

In stage three of the Study, the AOP research community was asked to identify patents covering three technology trends representing the next generation of LTE technology: Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), Advanced Carrier Aggregation and Voice Over LTE for Multimedia Applications with Video.

Following this, the AOP Community was asked to provide US patents and patent applications that map to the technology trends. AOP then calculated the percentage of patents owned by the majority owners of highly essential and highly novel patents as determined by Thomson Reuters. The following was uncovered:

Percentage of the Article One Partners' technology trend collections owned by
the top five (5) companies identified by Thomson Reuters (TR):

TR 1 TR 2 TR 3 TR 4 TR 5
Nokia Qualcomm Samsung Ericsson LG
6.02% 7.45% 6.88% 8.31% 1.72%

How are other mobile communications companies developing their own positions? The huge valuations for patent acquisitions of Nortel and Motorola Mobility at $4.5 B and $12.5B, respectively, have given Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Google representation in patent ownership of LTE technology. Also, the consortium of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony owns 2.29% and Motorola Mobility, recently acquired by Google, owns 1.15% of the LTE patents and patent applications submitted by the community for this analysis.

Marshall Phelps, one of the co-authors of the report, commented that "forward leaning, strong patent portfolios are now a must have, not a nice to have. Major mobile communications companies understand the importance of this as a means to maintain cutting edge technology, specifically around LTE. Key patent percentage ownership can change daily when the market is converging on rapidly changing solutions, such as VoLTE. Companies shown in the AOP technology trend results are driving the filing of patent applications to maintain and grow their prominent position in LTE patents."

About Article One Partners
Article One Partners (AOP) has revolutionized the transparency of patent data. Today, AOP is the world's largest patent research community. The company has distributed requests for prior art research to more than one million scientists and technologists using a global online human search engine. AOP is active in 188 countries, presents search requests in 10 languages and is exceptionally successful in identifying key foreign language evidence, non-textual and non-patent literature. The company is a partner to 16 Fortune 100 companies, 50 Forbes Global 2000 and 7 of the top 10 US patent filers. AOP's client satisfaction rate exceeds 90%.

AOP has a distinguished Board, led by Marshall Phelps, the former head of patents and licensing at IBM and Microsoft. Founded in 2008 by patent community leader, inventor and entrepreneur, CEO Cheryl Milone, the company's product offerings have been called "revolutionary" and "game changing" by leading authorities. In short, many consider AOP to be the new industry standard.

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