Huawei Leads Worldwide Patent Applications In 2018 As Germany Launches 5G Auction

The Huawei brand logo is seen above a store of the telecoms equipment maker in Beijing, China, March 7, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

Despite battling with the U.S. government on security allegations, Huawei made history as an all-time record holder in patent applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in a year.

According to Electronics Weekly, Huawei topped the list of most patent applications in 2018. "It's an all-time record by anyone," WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry, said.

Compared to other companies around the world, Huawei submitted 5,405 patent applications in 2018. These numbers are a significant hike from 2017's 4,024 applications submitted to WIPO.

While Mitsubishi Electric bagged second place with 2,812 filings, the figures are still a far cry from Huawei's over 5,000 patent applications. "Historically, this is really quite extraordinary. Historically, this is a momentous occasion, this is something that is really a very, very significant result," Gurry noted.

In total, the United States made 56,142 filings while China accounted for 53,345 in worldwide patent applications. Experts pointed out that China is quickly catching up with the U.S. in the world of patent filings. The Asian country's applications increased by nine percent while the Americas saw a drop of 0.9 percent.

The Japan Times reported that the United Nations sees Huawei's ascent in patent filing as another significant sign that innovation has started shifting "from west to east." While the U.S. led the main category, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Chinese tech provider's record-breaking filings could encourage other companies to continue innovating.

Gurry also noted that Asia is leading the way on a regional basis. Data from WIPO revealed that the region accounted for more than half of all patent applications in 2018. He said the development is "an important milestone" in worldwide innovation.

Meanwhile, Germany finally launched its 5G mobile spectrum on Tuesday, following calls from the U.S. government to drop any projects involving China's leading tech giant. So far, four companies are battling it out for 41 blocks of spectrum under the network, Reuters reported.

Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland, and Vodafone have been admitted to the 5G auction. The said companies will represent Germany as it is expected that all 41 blocks of the spectrum will be auctioned simultaneously.

Industry experts said the use of 5G networks could enable the Internet of Things to show its full potential. Autonomous driving and artificial intelligence (AI) could become a thing of the present, instead of the future and with the latest developments in Germany, other western countries may follow suit in the long run. 

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