Sunday, October 25, 2015

NFC Patents for Smartphone Mobile Payments Licensing Potential Assessment

NFC (Near field communication) is a short-range wireless technology that allows wireless connections between two devices for data exchange in various business transactions. NFC-enabled smartphones are one of major driver for current mobile payments (e.g., Samsung Pay and Apple Pay) market.

TechIPm researched patents for the NFC-equipped smartphones and systems/applications for the mobile payments, issued in the USPTO as of 2Q, 2015. TechIPm’s research identified more than 600 patents that are related to the NFC-enabled smartphone mobile payments. The identified NFC patents are classified by devices, systems, applications and their sub-components/systems. Among more than 80 IPR holders Sony (including Sony Ericsson) is the leader followed by Visa, NXP, Nokia, Broadcom and Samsung Electronics.

To evaluate the essentiality of a patent for the NFC smartphone mobile payments, patent disclosures in claims and detail description for each identified NFC patent are compared to the industry standards for NFC technology (ISO and NFC Forum). The NFC Forum standard specifications included in the analysis are Activity, Digital, Protocol, LLCP (Logical Link Control Protocol), NDEF (Data Exchange Format), RF/Analog, RTD (Record Type Definition), and Tag Operation. More than 160 patents are selected as the potential candidates of the NFC standard essential patents (SEPs). Among more than 20 IPR holders, NXP is the leader followed by Sony, Broadcom, Round Rock, Samsung Electronics and Nokia.

To assess licensing potentials of the key IPR holders, forward citation based Amber Cluster Search was used. Identified NFC patents of a specific IPR holder were used as an input to the cluster search to evaluate licensing opportunities. All the values of licensing potential higher than one are aggregated for a specific potential licensee. Thus, higher in licensing potential value for a specific potential licensee means higher in licensing opportunity.

 Following figures summarize the NFC patents licensing potentials of Nokia, NXP and Visa.

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