In the emerging wearable world, especially the smartwatch space, patents are flying in and out of offices at alarming speeds as the technology begins to hit the mainstream, warranting attention from just about every OEM. The smartwatch war is heating up the most out of all wearable spaces and it seems everybody from Samsung and Apple to Sony and Xiaomi want a piece of the action. Of all of the manufacturers out there throwing down patent filings with increasing fervor, Samsung stands head and shoulders above the rest in sheer numbers of patents for wearable-related tech.
In the most recent polls, Samsung was shown to have a whopping 600 patents, placing them firmly at the top of the heap. The runner-up by a pretty wide margin is Philips, with 500 patents. The gap here represents twenty percent of the runner-up’s portfolio, which is a pretty big thing when it comes to emerging tech zones like wearables, where new developments are being worked on daily and the term describing that particular space is being redefined almost as often.
Down from those two giants, the next biggest wearable patent holders are LG and Canon, with 450 a pop, a step-down of ten percent from their upperclassman rival in the second place slot. The number of patents seems to be setting a precedent, but as we all know from the painful Apple vs. Samsung courtroom soap opera, it’s the content of the patents that matters most in the end.
As for global distribution, despite being home to two of the top four wearable patent holders worldwide, South Korea is responsible for only 9.4 percent of global wearable patents, or 6,036 in total. Japan has them sorely beaten, but with wider distribution of patent holdings, with a whopping 27.6 percent of wearable patents out there. They’re followed by the United States with 22.5 percent and China with 22.4 percent. With a less focused, more scattergun approach to patent distribution worldwide than in Korea, it’s a safe bet that future patent growth in Korea is most likely to benefit Samsung, the current champion. This will allow them to grow their wearable portfolio and feature set at a faster rate than others, storming the world stage and setting competitors up to face down a tough crowd.