The Samsung Galaxy S IV was just announced and it is likely implementing never before seen patented technology. That’s because the electronics maker in 2012 registered more mobile patents than any other wireless device manufacturer.
Based on 2012 numbers Samsung now controls more mobile patents than any other company in the world.
Mobile analyst Chetan Sharma examined the company’s filings and compared them against Apple, Google, LG, and other mobile phone manufacturers. He examined more than 7 million mobile phone patents awarded in the US and Europe, the two largest markets for global patent filings.
Sharma found that mobile patent filings are growing so quickly that by the end of 2013 they will account for 25% of all global patents. Keep in mind that in 2001 mobile patents made up just 5% of the overall market in the U.S. In Europe the number is expected to rise to 10% of the overall market.
According to Sharma, the tremendous growth of tablets and smartphones has fueled a market unto itself. There are service providers, hardware feature creators, new innovations in mobile networking, and much more. As more tech firms move into the fray more patents are filed and intellectual property battles erupt.
Patents have become big business, many firms build a patent and then license its technology to tech firms, while other patent trolls sit on patents, wait for them to be violated, and then sue large technology firms for millions of dollars, sometimes hundreds of millions.
In his analysis of the patent market Sharma notes that Nokia was knocked from the top spot while also included in the top 10 mobile patent holders are Sony, Microsoft, RIM, LG, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Panasonic and Alcatel-Lucent.
It’s not just mobile manufacturers, three carriers also made the mobile patents list: AT&T, NTT Docomo and Sprint. While mobile carrier numbers were much lower than manufacturers it still shows a dramatic shift in IP perceptions within the wireless industry.
Samsung files so many patents because it not only develops devices, it also builds infrastructure support systems and works in platform development.
Here is a chart from Chetan Sharma that showcases the patent wars on a global scale: