Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LTE Patent Portfolio Development Strategy

As the start of worldwide deployment of LTE mobile services, leading mobile equipment vendors, such as Ericsson, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung, are introducing various innovative LTE products.

A new study from Juniper Research showed that revenues from LTE mobile broadband subscribers will exceed $70 billion globally by 2014, and recent research by In-Stat found that the total value of global end-use LTE device market will exceed $2 billion by 2013. As the market for LTE products increases, aggressive efforts for holding the LTE patent portfolios (essential patents) are also intensified among LTE innovation leaders and OEM product manufactures.

Essential patent is defined as patents that contain one or more claims that are infringed by the implementation of a specification for standardized technology. LTE is standardized through the 3GPP, and the specification for LTE mobile system (UE and base station for EPS) is published as TS 36 series. A typical way to develop the essential patent is to participate in the standardization process and try to get IPRs for the standards in parallel (strategic alignment between standardization and IPR).

Without the strategic alignment between standardization and IPR process, however, there is an alternative way to develop the essential patent portfolios through patent engineering process. The LTE patent engineering process utilizes the existing patent portfolios.
The patent engineering process for LTE essential patent development is as follows.

Step 1: Audit the existing patents to compare with the LTE TS36 series specification.

Step 2: Investigate the embodiments of the patent which are relevant to the specifications.

Step 3: Design the claim terms to be essential to the implementation of the specification.

Step 4: File the essential patent candidate through continuation or reissue process.
For case study of Qualcomm, please refer

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