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The Huawei Verizon Fallout

Huawei has demanded 1 billion dollars from Verizon as licensing fee for over 230 of its patents. The patents relate to a range of technologies such as wireline infrastructure, network equipment and hardware, communications technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Huawei, one of the leading companies in telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics, was founded in 1987 and engages 188000 employees at present across the globe with more than 75000 of them in R&D alone. In the 2017 fiscal year it invested US$13.8 billion in R&D and has generated a revenue of US$108.5 billion in 2018 which is 21% more than the previous year. The company is present in 170 countries and its global expansion has triggered cybersecurity concerns regarding its products in various parts of the world.

Huawei is meeting with more resistance in the western democracies now that 5G is an immediate prospect.  However, it has already established itself in this space, capitalizing on the level playground guaranteed in the west.

A quick analysis on the Relecura platform tells us that Huawei is ahead of the rest of the competitors in the 5G space and is constantly innovating as well. It is interesting to note that while Huawei has 118378 active patents and applications, Verizon has only 7533.

Figure 1: Table depicting the IP share of the key players [Click on image to enlarge]

Figure 2 shows that Huawei has shown an upward trend in published patents starting in 2008. From 2015, the number of published patents show a sharp rise, leaving its competitors further behind. The divergence in the number of published patents between Huawei and its competitors becomes apparent starting in 2007. Huawei’s forte has been innovation which is evident from its R&D investments.

Figure 2: Publication Trend [Click on image to enlarge]

During its 32 years of existence, Huawei has streamlined a great deal of its resources to enter the world market and is expected to stay there, being the world’s largest telephone equipment maker, especially in 4G, and one of the leaders in terms of declared 5G standard-essential patents (SEP). Indeed, the jockeying for IP leadership will have a cascading effect in the wireless sector in the coming years as 5G will impact multiple industries, ranging from automotive and finance to healthcare, media and manufacturing.

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