2012 mobile patent portoflios

For some time, patents have been viewed as the latest competitive weapon. A company can still lose in terms of product sales, but reap a tidy sum through patent litigation and licensing. Samsung, the South Korean firm which makes everything from silicon chips to cell phones, now has the world’s largest collection of patents, topping rival iPhone maker Apple.

Thanks to its rise as a mobile powerhouse, Samsung topped the list both in overall mobile patents held and patents granted in 2012. By comparison, Apple ranked No. 7 in mobile patents involving infrastructure and platforms, according to a new analysis of the fast-changing mobile patent landscape…

TechCrunch relays mobile analyst Chetan Sharma data which claims seven million mobile patents were granted in the U.S. and Europe during 2012. Samsung’s rise came at the expense of Nokia , the previous patent leader.

Although Samsung and Nokia are both companies producing a wide range of products, the rise of mobile patents came as Apple and Samsung dominated the smartphone market.


This is a marked turnaround from the previous year, when Apple found its vast array of patents vital to fending off Samsung’s growth in Europe, as well as the United States.

In 2012, the California company won a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung, potentially requiring the South Korean firm to pay at least $1 billion.

IBM was listed as both the No. 2 mobile patent holder and having the second-most mobile patents granted in 2012. Microsoft, Nokia and Sony completed the top five mobile patent holders. Meanwhile, Sony jumped to No. 3 in mobile patents granted in 2012, followed by Microsoft and BlackBerry.

2012 mobile patent portoflio granted and pending in US

Samsung likely will remain near the top of the mobile patent rankings in the future, according to the research. Patent applications rose 61 percent in 2012 over the prior decade. according to Sharma. While IBM continues to lead the list, Samsung and Microsoft are not far behind.

Other trends suggest nations outside the U.S. may be the future hotbeds for mobile patents. While mobile technology R&D has shifted from Europe to the U.S., growing to 25 percent of all patents granted in America during 2013 (from 5 percent in 2001), the spotlight may shift to China.

In 2011, patents coming from China grew at a 22 percent rate – outpacing the 3.3 percent and 3.8 percent growth in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.

Earlier today, we reported on a Chinese company challenging Apple’s Siri technology, citing a patent filed.

As China and other countries increase their patent output, those type of headlines will only mount.

  • Sai Tej Kancharla

    Yet all they want is to copy Apple in every way possible(though some features are really commendable)

    • Samsung should stick to making photo copiers..

      • BoardDWorld

        Actually nah, they don’t last the distance. The best thing I have bought from Samsung is a vacuum cleaner, it’s actually really good and it still sucks…

      • Well, at least on that I bet they are good… not perfect but good indeed.

  • Malay Mody

    It’s ironic because they continue to blatantly copy Apple whenever possible (S-Voice, wallet)

    • @dongiuj


      • Malay Mody

        An exact clone of Passbook. Just like how S-Voice is a clone of Siri

      • @dongiuj

        Ah, sorry I didn’t know what it was because unlike iPhones, android don’t force you to have a certain icon on your springboard that’s a complete waste of time and space for a majority of the world as of yet.

      • RarestName

        S Voice has an icon by the way. It’s actually an application and is not built into the OS.

      • @dongiuj

        You’re right about that, I’m sorry I didn’t say exactly was I wanted to say. About icons on the screen that is a waste of time and space on the springboard I meant passbook. Sorry I really didn’t write properly at all haha. My bad.

      • So is Siri. You just can’t remove it.

      • RarestName

        The advantage is that the Siri process is running all the time while the S Voice application stays unopened unless it is initiated by the user.

      • Malay Mody

        Wow it’s funny how ignorant that comment is because Androids come with the most bloatware from carriers of any phone. And S-Voice has an icon unlike Siri. Most Androids have even more preinstalled apps than iPhone. Plus Wallet isn’t even out yet, so nice try at making a jab at iPhones

      • @dongiuj

        Wait a minute. You were the one saying how Samsung seems to copy apple. Are you telling me that apple have never copied anything or use technology that was never used before apple? Try answering with a simple yes or no.

      • No, Apple never, ever, copied a rival so shamelessly like samsung did with Motorola, Nokia and now will all Apple products, stores and user interfaces. And when Apple wants a feature that others have, they make a deal to use it and make it different, they doesn’t simply start their scanners and printers like Samsung does. It’s the big different between Apple, Samsung and other companies. Yes, fortunately we still have a lot of brands that care about quality and originality.

      • @dongiuj

        “Notification center” on a smartphone.
        Now try saying no again.
        And I see you can’t answer with a simple yes or no.

        Sorry, I get it, you’re joking.

      • You should ask: “Why Google don’t sue Apple about that”

        1. Both own rights about notification center.
        2. Even if Apple doesn’t owned rights, Google just can’t sue apple because they stole much more features from iOS and the iOs from Android.

        Do you really want to talk about that features? Because the list os huge… :cough: Shotcut Fast folders :cough: Google Play :cough: Icons in grid with Dock and top bar :cough: Moving from a Blackberry wannabe to a iOS wannabe :cough: :cough:

        By the way, can you help me please to do some stuff? I wanted to change the notification background on my android device to a different color or image, and my friend on his device (that only had the 4.0.3 update) wanted to know how to change the notification and sms sound and volume, separately, because he want to distinguish both just by the sound, please. And btw, how to get notifications sound repeater without having a 3rd party app wasting a huge amount of ram, just to do that work…

      • @dongiuj

        So basically both have copied in some way. The point I’m trying to make is why do apple fangirls android lovers get so uptight about it when everyone copies each other in some way, shape or form?
        Personally, I don’t care who copies who. I have both iPhone and android devices. It all works out better for me, the consumer. More choice for the consumer is what it’s all about. Stop whining ladies.

      • Malay Mody

        Yes apple has copied. And notification center is a horrible example, if apple copied, then why hasn’t google sued apple over it? Exactly, because apple has patents regarding it. But apple has never copied as blatantly as Samsung. Samsung was found to have an entire book devoted to copying apple and its OS elements

      • @dongiuj

        So they have both copied. Kind of makes your original comment pointless.
        As a user of these kind of products just enjoy it and appreciate what you have. A lot of people have to wait god knows how long to get their hands on either of them and in a lot of cases people never have the chance to get their hands on either of them. Mines better than yours, they copied bla bla bla…. Get a grip, mate.

      • Malay Mody

        Yes they have both copied. How does that disprove my point? Samsung does it pathologically, shamelessly, more frequently and much more obviously than apple. It’s a well known fact

  • Kurt

    What number is Apple in overall patents? Ed tried to make Apple sound better by saying number 7 for mobile patents involving infrastructure and platforms. That’s sly since no mention of overall patents which would show an accurate picture of innovation on these companies.

  • FrankensteinBlack

    Don’t scoff at the importance of this data because it means in the future the “Apple baked chickens will come home to roost”! Future FRAND? PIFF! Pay me for those gangnam style rimes you want to use. And it won’t be Tim Cooks fault either.

    You see Steve Jobs (R.I.P) entered the mobile handset space in a n00b douchie way, going as far as holding a press event during antenna-gate and calling out (falsely) other handset manufactures by name saying “your holding it wrong and other manufactures antennas suck too” (to which they replied quickly, some even providing proof that his statement was false).

    Prior to Apple there was a brotherhood amongst handset makers and not just for FRAND. It was rare back then that a law suit occurred between handset makers. As a matter of fact Motorola made the first iTunes compatible phone. Apple rode the FRAND wave into the mobile space and then complained when others created rectangular devices with rounded edges (a shape that existed even before the almighty etched the 10 commandments on two of them).

    So, the moral of the story is future FRAND is Toast and Apple will have to PAY big to Play big. Period!!!

  • um yeah but they still suck