Huawei Has 56,492 Patents and It's Not Afraid to Use Them
Huawei has an advantage that the U.S. can’t undermine: a vast, global portfolio of patents on critical technology, according to Bloomberg.
Chinese telecom giant holds 56,492 active patents on telecommunications, networking and other high-tech inventions worldwide, according to Anaqua’s AcclaimIP. And it’s stepping up pursuit of royalties and licensing fees as its access to American markets and suppliers is being restricted.
The company is in protracted licensing talks with Verizon and is in a dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm over the value of patents. Huawei also lodged claims against Harris Corp. after the defense contractor sued it last year alleging infringement of patents for networking and cloud security.
“Patents are, at their basic level, weapons of economic warfare,” said Brad Hulbert, a patent lawyer with McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff in Chicago. “They’re being hurt by the sanctions that the Trump Administration imposed and saying ‘You have hurt us and our ability to sell, and we can hurt back.’ It’s saber-rattling.”
Patent disputes are common in the tech industry, and the coming revolution predicted by advances in 5G promises to bring even more. Traditional players like Ericsson and Nokia are ramping up efforts to get more money from their patents. Qualcomm is appealing a ruling in a lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that threatens the licensing program that accounts for the bulk of its profits. Huawei and Samsung ended a two-year royalty fight in February.
Qualcomm and Huawei are seen as two of the biggest players developing 5G that could bring not only faster speeds but bring new capabilities including remote surgery via robots and self-driving cars that talk to each other. The global ban on Huawei equipment promoted by Trump has roiled telecom companies worldwide. It’s a reminder that 5G relies on both the U.S. and China.