Total of 1238 LTE patents, issued and published applications in the US as of May 1 2010, are analyzed to find essential patent candidates for LTE RAN (PHY & Radio Protocols) standards. LTE PHY (physical layer) standards are described in 3GPP specifications TS36.211, TS36.212, and TS36.213. LTE radio protocols standards are described in 3GPP specifications TS36.321, TS36.322, TS36.323, and TS36.331.
LTE RAN (Radio Access Network) standards are essential for an implementation of mobile user equipments (cellular phones, smart phones, PDAs, PCs, etc.) and base station (eNB) products. An essential patent is defined as patent that contain one or more claims that are infringed by the implementation of a specification for standardized technology. Thus, if a LTE product is implemented following the standard specifications, it should infringe some essential patents.
To evaluate the essentiality of a LTE patent, patent disclosures in claim and detail description for each LTE patent are compared to the final versions of the 3GPP Release 8 technical specifications. Total of 134 patents are identified as the potential candidates for LTE RAN essential patent.
The LTE IPR shareholders for essential patent are Ericsson, ETRI, Freescale, Huawei, InterDigital, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Nortel, Qualcomm, RIM, Samsung, and TI. Among 14 LTE essential patent candidates shareholders, LG is the leader (30%). The top 5 IPR shareholders - InterDigital, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung (total IPR share of 87%) - are appeared as the key member candidates for a successful LTE patent pool formation and operation.
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