Patent activity is a good measure of a company’s competitiveness and its ability to protect its long-term profitability. Patents are internationally defendable and ensure that a company with a strong bias towards research innovation will maintain a strong market presence and a good return for its investors. This report conducts a review of the smartphone platform patenting activity of the major companies across the mobile industry, and presents an evaluation of how these companies are positioned in the market as a result of their intellectual property holdings.
The report summarises the current legal disputes in the mobile market and presents case studies for the high-profile disputes between Apple and HTC, Apple and Nokia, the Apple multi-touch challenge and the social networking challenge made to Google and Facebook. The disputed patents are identified and an outlook presented for each party depending on ultimate settlement.
An analysis of patents awarded over the period June 2009 to June 2010 related to smartphone hardware, platforms, software and services was conducted in order to identify key patenting trends and the intellectual property standing of the leading industry players. The work identified four areas of active patenting – the user interface, short-range connectivity, location based services, and search and advertising. Some findings were unsurprising, such as Google’s strong IPR in the area of search, while others were less expected, such as Samsung’s high ranking in user interface patents – the company being second only to Apple in this area.
Topics of coverage include:
- Determining the value of patents
- Smartphone market overview
- How patents help build a competitive advantage
- Significant new smartphone patents
- Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) – strategies and influence
- Patent dispute case studies
- Smartphone patenting volume analysis
- Areas of high patenting activity – UI, Connectivity, LBS, and Search and Advertising
- Outlook for patent reform
- Summary of patent disputes in the handset industry
Companies mentioned, discussed or reviewed include:
Digital Tech Licensing
Answers and opinions are provided with respect to the following
- Why are patent disputes increasing?
- How has wireless patent activity evolved over the years?
- What aspect of device connectivity is Apple’s IP most focused?
- After Google, which companies hold the most number of search and advertising patents?
- What is at stake in the Apple versus Nokia patent dispute?
- What is at stake in the Apple versus HTC patent dispute?
- Which aspect of the smartphone platform has experienced the greatest amount of patent activity in the past year?
- Which company has patented the most number of image-based search patents?
- Why is NFC such an active area of innovation amongst smartphone vendors?
- What are some of the significant LBS innovations that Apple and Google have patented?
- After Apple, which companies are the most innovative in the area of device user interface?