Fresh off the back of widespread 5G patent ranking success, Huawei used its Innovation and IP Forum today to emphasise the importance of international cooperation and reaffirm its commitment to protect and share intellectual property rights.

Just last week it was reported that US-based patent advisory firm Tech+IP put Huawei at the top of its latest survey of 5G patent owners. The ranking follows earlier analysis from IPlytics and GreyB which also both put Huawei at the head of their own 5G patent rankings.

In his opening comments at the event in Shenzhen this morning, Huawei chief legal officer Song Liuping (pictured) noted the business environment has been challenging over the past three years, but “the harder things get the more determined we are to invest in the future”.

Song stated the company is “eager to license patents and technologies” to share its innovations, which will “help broaden the innovation landscape, drive our industry forward and advance technology for everyone”.

He said in 2021 R&D investment reached CNY142.7 billion ($21.4 billion), representing 22.4 per cent of total revenue, up marginally from 2020.

Alan Fan, head of the Intellectual Property Rights Department at Huawei, noted despite headwinds the company continues to invest at least $3 billion a year in basic research.

Huawei is working with specialist companies to offer one-stop licences through mainstream patent pools to make its technology more accessible, he said. It also is discussing joint licensing programmes for 5G patents with licensing experts and leading industry patentees.

Patent push
The number of international patent applications filed by Huawei increased to 6,952 last year from 5,464 in 2020. But the number of US patents granted fell to 2,935 from 3,108, while in Europe they dropped to 2,138 from 2,230 over that period.

Granted patents in China rose to 7,913 in 2021 from 6,324 the previous year.

Fan noted over the past five years, more than 2 billion smartphones were licensed to Huawei’s 4G and 5G patents, and about 8 million connected vehicles were licensed to its patents.

The vendor’s third annual innovation and IP-themed event featured its internal awards recognising the top-ten inventions, with inventions ranging from neural networks that significantly reduce power consumption to an optical ‘iris’ that provides a unique identifier to help operators manage network resources.