It's a sad state of affairs at the moment in the wireless industry, it seems that whoever has the most patents, achieves the most success. So, maybe that's not entirely fair but, when Microsoft can make more money off of Android – thanks to licensing from Motorola et al – than Windows Phone, then there's something wrong with the industry. Samsung know this only too well after suffering badly at the hands of Apple, in the high-profile court case from last year, Apple accused Samsung of not only imitating trade dress but also infringing on a number of patents in the process. Samsung are a big player in the wireless market, not just because they ship in massive volume year after year, but because they go much further than that phone that ends up in your pocket.
Samsung seems to have learned from their defeat against Apple and their patent office has obviously been very busy, the South Korean giant now holds more mobile patents than anyone else in the world, and was awarded more patents than anyone else in 2012. Thanks to a study by analyst Cheton Sharma, there are some interesting facts concerning mobile patents around the world. The study took a look at patents applied for in Europe and the U.S. and found the U.S. to eclipse Europe by a fair margin.
The U.S. in fact, now makes up for 72% of mobile patents granted across the region. China, of course, also saw growth in mobile patents throughout 2011 with 22% growth up from just 3.3% from the previous year.
Samsung's rise to the top of the mobile patents ladder has knocked Nokia off of the top spot and the study shows a shake-up where the top-tier manufacturers and companies are concerned:
It's interesting to see Sony climb a couple of places while a lot staples, like Nokia and Ericsson fall further down the table. The whole study makes for interesting reading – if you like figures and graphs of course – but what it amounts to is that mobile patents are fast becoming the vast majority of patents granted and applied for. Throughout 2012 Samsung went after mobile patents more than anyone else and now 25% of patents in the U.S. are n fact, mobile patents.