Nokia launched into an emerging battle for 5G patent bragging rights among the world’s big-three vendors, declaring it had registered more than 3,000 patents as essential for next-generation networks and pumped approximately €4.4 billion into broader technology R&D in 2019 alone.

In a statement, the company said it had declared the 5G patents to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), reaching the milestone less than six months after hitting the 2,000 mark.

Nokia pointed to contributions in innovations and standardisation to the tune of €129 billion in R&D spend over the past two decades, a sum which ramped for 5G during 2019.

With its latest feat, Nokia said its portfolio of cellular standard essential patents (SEP) were declared to one or more of the 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G standards, spanning more than 3,400 patent families, 3,000 of which are relevant to the next generation.

Developed through its Nokia Bell Lads unit and licensed through its Nokia Technologies business, the company said it has a leading SEP market share, with its technology licensed to more than 200 additional licensees “including most major smartphone vendors and many automotive brands”.

Marcus Weldon, Nokia CTO and president of Bell Labs, said its inventions were “critical to the new industrial IoT era”

“We standardise these inventions to allow widespread utilisation and adoption,” he added.

Fighting talk
Leading rivals Ericsson and Huawei also often point to their own 5G patents as evidence of their technology prowess in the battle for global leadership.

Indeed, Ericsson UK and Ireland CEO Marielle Lindgren yesterday (23 March) told Mobile World Live the vendor was a front runner in terms of developing and deploying 5G tech. The company cited a study from August 2019 which showed it was leading on the most essential 5G patents.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported Huawei had filed more than 3,500 patents in Europe alone, two-thirds of which were relevant to 5G.