Huawei was the biggest filer of patents with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2017, becoming the first Chinese company to reach the number-one spot.
The EPO’s annual report, released today, shows the Office received nearly 166,000 European patent applications last year, an increase of nearly 4% and an all-time high. Huawei filed 2,398 patents with the EPO, making it the top filer of 2017.
“Huawei places great emphasis on research and development, so the creation of high patent numbers is a natural result,” said Dr. Song Liuping, Huawei Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. “These numbers may rise further as we increasingly participate in the setting of next-generation telecommunication standards such as 5G. Huawei will continue to invest in patent creation and filing to protect our intellectual property.”
As of December 31, 2017, Huawei had filed 64,091 patent applications in China and 48,758 applications outside of China. A total of 74,307 patent applications have been granted, 90 percent of them invention patents.
Of its 180,000 employees worldwide, about 80,000 or 40 percent are engaged in some form of R&D. Every year, Huawei invests at least 10% of its annual sales revenue in R&D, and expects to invest between US$10b and US$20b in R&D annually in the coming years.
Many of Huawei’s products involve multiple patents. A Huawei P10 smartphone, for example, could make use of several thousand technologies that require patents in areas including wireless technology, applications, semiconductors, and screen display technology.