Broadening the Innovation Landscape: Huawei Patents & Top Ten Inventions 2021
On June 8, 2022, Huawei held an event on the importance of IPR themed “Broadening the Innovation Landscape 2022: Creating IP, Driving Innovation.” At the event, Alan Fan, Head of the Intellectual Property Rights Department for Huawei, presented our patent business and introduced the winners of our “Top Ten Innovations” awards for 2021. Below is his speech.
The essence of the patent system is to incentivize innovation, promote tech openness, and boost prosperity. While Huawei’s patent portfolio is gaining attention, we are still a student, learning from our western peers about how to use our patents.
Our patent business
So, as the times they’re a-changing, let me to give you a brief update of Huawei’s patent business.
For five straight years, we’ve ranked number one in the world in terms of PCT applications. This number hit almost 7,000 last year, the highest number in the history of PCT for a single applicant. The PCT system allows us to file national patents within 30 months, a precious time we use to plan for global filing effectively.
The number of our patent applications in China has been on the rise for seven years, exceeding 10,000 in 2020 and hitting nearly 12,000 in 2021.
In the past three years, we have faced challenges head-on and continued to invest at least 2 billion yuan (approx. US$299.7 million) in basic research every year. Today, no other company has more granted patents than us in China.
Our annual patent applications in the United States totals around 4,000, with an average of 3,000 new ones granted. In 2021, Huawei ranked fifth in terms of new patents granted, adding up to a total of 20,000 patents in the United States. These numbers reflect our long-term investment in R&D. We also share our latest technologies and innovations with an open attitude: Our US licensees include leading companies in the smartphone, automotive, and home appliance industries, and we are honored that our technologies can contribute to their success.
According to the European Patent Office, Huawei was the largest patent applicant in Europe in 2019 and 2021. Europe is one of Huawei’s largest markets outside of China. We have 20 research centers in Europe, including Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Belgium, and Poland. The number of patent applications by our local teams has been on the rise every year.
In 2019, the baseline version of 5G standards was officially released. Accordingly, we were able to identify our patents under the standard and file them in more countries. The wave of new applications in 2019 led to a wave of new patents granted last year. We are pleased to see that our contributions to 5G is bringing significant value to countries across the world and helping the transformation into a digital economy.
Huawei’s patent value has been widely recognized, especially in mainstream standards such as cellular, Wi-Fi, and audio/video codecs.
Huawei’s licensees cover a wide range of areas, including smartphones, connected cars, networking, IoT, and smart homes. In the past five years, more than 2 billion smartphones have obtained Huawei’s 4G/5G patent licenses. And for cars, about 8 million connected vehicles licensed with Huawei patents are being delivered to the consumers every year. We are pleased to see the hard work of our brightest inventors is valued by our licensees.
Huawei is also actively working with patent license administration companies in offering “one-stop” licenses for mainstream standards, so that industry participants, especially SMEs, are able to access our innovations efficiently.
Patent quality is the foundation to the success of patent pools
Smaller licensees typically don’t have the ability to assess the technical merits of large numbers of patents, and patent pool companies need to do it for them. We expect our high- quality patents, backed by our strong contribution to standards, will bolster the success of our patent pool partners.
For video technology, over 260 companies and 1 billion devices have obtained Huawei’s HEVC patent licenses through a patent pool.
For Wi-Fi, we’re in discussions with our industry peers and an experienced patent pool administrator about founding a new patent pool, focusing on promoting next-generation technologies and patent quality. We are expecting to launch the pool soon, so as to give quick access to our patents for over 3 billion Wi-Fi devices shipped every year.
We’re also actively discussing joint licensing programs for 5G patents with licensing experts and leading patentees. We expect that these programs will bring the technology to consumers at a more affordable price by increasing licensing efficiency.
Patents provide two basic rights to innovators: exclusivity and reward-sharing
While some of our patents are filed for exclusivity rights to protect our products, many of our patents are filed for sharing. When there’s a reward from the sharing, where does it go? It goes to our R&D funding, it goes to our inventors.
To honor the remarkable achievements of our innovators, Huawei has given bi-annual “Top Ten Inventions” Awards since 2015. The award is designed to recognize inventions or patented technologies that have the potential to create new product series, become important commercial features of existing products, and generate considerable value for the company and the industry.
In 2021, we broke our top ten rule by giving awards to 11 key inventions at the fourth edition of the awards due to a tie in voting – all the finalists were just too good to drop one.
As the organizer of the awards, I have keenly felt how the commercial, industrial and social values of our major innovations have become increasingly prominent in the past few years.
I want to note that not all inventions featured in the video were award winners. The competition was fierce, and all nominees are the best of the best.
Winners of the fourth edition of Huawei Top Ten Inventions
1) A New Adder Neural Network: reduces computing power consumption and circuit area by 70% while ensuring accuracy. Derivative technologies can be widely used in terminal devices, smart cars, and telecom networks. It can also greatly save power for consumer electronics.
2) Multi-target Competition Algorithm: resolves some of the foremost challenges in autonomous driving, including positioning, perception, and decision-making challenges in complex urban road scenarios where people and vehicles are mixed. Our solutions resolved 70% of the challenges in these interactive scenarios, shortened the pass-through time by 40%, and reduced the consumption of perceived network computing power by 88%. CPU consumption is also cut by 85% and storage overheads by 200 times.
3) Iris on Fiber Optics: marks optical iris on fibers akin to a QR code for each connection, in response to the issue that the passive nature of optical fibers makes them hard to manage. This innovation helps carriers accelerate fiber broadband deployment, reduces resource accumulation by 30%, and reduces operating costs by 20%.
4) Full-Precision Floating-point Computing: fuses high-efficiency floating-point computing power and meets floating-point precision computing requirements in scenarios from High Performance Computing to AI inference. The innovation has become part of our Ascend chips.
5) A Revolutionary Head-up Display: solves the ghosting, glare, and vertigo problems of automotive head-up display systems. It cuts size, frees up computing resources, reduces latency, and makes AR HUDs more visible, affordable, and user-friendly.
Read more: AR-HUD: A Heads Up on the Road Ahead
6) Deterministic IP: realizes deterministic low latency and low jitter for large-scale packet networks. It forms the basis the industry’s first and only deterministic IP network solution, and achieves micro-second-level remote industrial control.
7) Kite’ for Core Networks: allows carriers to deploy remote core networks, or ‘kite networks’, for their business clients from different industries, meeting stringent reliability and security requirements.
8) Massive MIMO In-N-Out: addresses the major challenges for indoor and outdoor 5G deployment. In outdoor scenarios, BladeAAUs help customers to simplify 5G network deployment and ensure optimal 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G network performance. Indoors, Distributed MIMO greatly improves 5G network capacity and user experience.
9) 5G Single Air: increases the proportion of 5G inter-RAT spectrum resources shared by 4G from 20% to 90%, achieving the industry’s only millisecond-level dynamic spectrum sharing capability for commercial use. Currently, 26 networks in the world have successfully put 5G Single Air – a standardized 5G technology – into commercial use.
10) Dual-Active Network Attached Storage: represents the world’s first symmetric active-active high-end storage architecture with zero service interruptions. It addresses high-end storage performance, reliability, and scalability requirements at the same time. Our architecture’s performance is twice that of the industry and can be widely used in various sectors, including transportation, energy, and finance.
11) LinkTurbo and Hyperhold device acceleration bundles: enables our smartphones to deliver a smooth user experience in all network and memory usage conditions. LinkTurbo significantly improves concurrent download rate and reduces game delays and video buffering time, while Hyperhold greatly expands available memory, improving basic read-write performance.
- Huawei White Paper on Innovation and Intellectual Property 2020 [Download the White Paper]
- Why IPR Is the Foundation of Innovation [article]
Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.