Qualcomm looks set to be the leading patent holder in 4G wireless communications after recording 24 percent of ETSI declarations surrounding LTE, as well as 16 percent of the 26,000 patents that have potential relevance to 4G technologies generally, including WiMAX. Other notable players in the LTE field include Interdigital (18 percent), Huawei (10 percent), LG (9 percent), Nokia (9 percent) and Samsung (7 percent). When considering the whole 4G environment Samsung takes second spot with 12 percent of all patent filings, and Nokia takes third with 6 percent.

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, comments, “Innovation in this space continues unabated. Given that these declarations reflect work completed 18 months ago, it is very feasible that this landscape could shift again during the coming two years as we see the 4G market ramp up. We see no major reason why the licensing situation in 4G will be significantly different from that for 3G. There is still a big list of ‘haves’ but also a large list of ‘have-nots’. The only major change is that the list of haves has changed significantly to embrace newly active patent holders such as Samsung and Huawei.”

These data are contained in ABI Research’s database product “LTE and WiMAX Intellectual Landscapes.” The research was compiled through analysis of IEEE declarations of essentiality as well as a full search of patents relating to OFDM, OFDMA, Beamforming, SDMA, HARQ, SC-FDMA, MIMO and Fast Power Control. It forms part of the firm’s 4G Research Service, which also includes Research Reports, Research Briefs, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices and analyst inquiry support.