Huawei tops patent rankings in China amid national push for innovation
Published: Jun 08, 2022 07:35 PM
Kunpeng 920 chip is showcased at Huawei's Kunpeng Ecosystem Base in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on January 10, 2022. Photo: VCG

Kunpeng 920 chip is showcased at Huawei's Kunpeng Ecosystem Base in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province on January 10, 2022. Photo: VCG

Huawei has been granted more patents than any other company in China, the Shenzhen-based technology giant said on Wednesday at an intellectual property-themed event, an indication of local businesses' pursuit of originality as the country moves up the global innovation ladder. 

"For five straight years, Huawei has ranked No.1 globally in terms of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications. The number hit almost 7,000 last year. That's the highest number in the history of the PCT for a single applicant," Alan Fan, head of the Intellectual Property Rights Department of Huawei, said at the event.

Huawei's patent applications in China topped 10,000 in 2020 before reaching 12,000 in 2021, and the company invests at least $3 billion in basic research each year, according to Fan, noting that "no other company has more granted patents than us in China."

Huawei's annual patent applications in the US hit around 4,000. Last year, the company took the fifth spot on the new patent rankings in the US, bringing its US patent portfolio to 20,000.

Huawei was also the top patent applicant in Europe in 2019 and 2020, Fan said, citing the European Patent Office. The company has 20 research centers on the continent, including Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Belgium and Poland.

Huawei's lead in patent applications epitomizes the country's rise to prominence in the global innovation landscape.

China has played a significant part in revving up global innovation, Liu Hua, director of the World Intellectual Property Organization Office in China, said at the Wednesday event. 

Innovation is being relied on to enable an economic revival and sustainable development in the post-pandemic era, Liu said.

"Protecting IP is central to protecting innovation," read a company statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, quoting Huawei's Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping. 

"We are eager to license our patents and technologies to share our innovations with the world," Song said.

"In the past five years, more than 2 billion smartphones have obtained Huawei's 4G/5G licenses. As for cars, about 8 million connected vehicles licensed with Huawei patents are delivered to consumers every year," according to Fan.

Huawei disclosed in March 2021 that it will start to charge royalties to 5G smartphone makers using its patented 5G technology, which will provide a "reasonable percentage royalty rate" of the handset's selling price, with royalty cap at $2.50 each.

The company received an estimated $1.2-1.3 billion in revenue from patents licensing between 2019 and 2021.

Global Times