Press Release:Cyber Creative Institute Analyzes the Number and New Trend of 5G Patents held by the World’s Major Players

Sales Started for 5G Patent Search Report (3rd edition) and Corresponding Patent List

Cyber Creatie Institute Co. Ltd. (Head office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President: Hirohiko Sato), comprehensive research company for ICT technologies including mobile and wireless, has evaluated and analyzed the development trends of major companies, technologies and services for 3GPP 5G standard essential patents (5G-SEP). The following is a summary of the analysis.

In this research report, we have updated the “Actual 5G-SEP Holding Status” under the latest data, using the 5G standard essential patent declarations by the world’s major players that were announced on October 12th, 2020. The report also examines the latest trends in the number of 5G standardization contributions (i.e., the number of technology contributions) from major worldwide players and analyzes the correlation between the 5G-SEP holdings and the number of contributions. This report also examines how the trend of contributions changes as the subject matter for 5G standardization shifts from Rel-15 to Rel-16. In addition, it includes the patent application trends of each technology category for 5G, such as automotive and IoT.

In examining the 5G-SEP ownership status, as in the previous release, we conducted a sampling check for the standard compliance of the SEP declared patents to 3GPP 5G Standard and estimated the number of real 5G-SEP holdings by major companies. In terms of the number of real 5G-SEP holdings, Samsung (South Korea), Qualcomm (U.S.), and NTT DOCOMO (Japan) ranked first, second and third, respectively, with a share of over 10% (Figure 2). By nationality, the top 10 companies are closely matched: two from Japan (+Sharp), one from the U.S., two from Europe (Nokia, Ericsson), three from China (Huawei, ZTE, CATT), and two from Korea (+LG).

The correlation between the number of 5G-SEPs and the number of contributions shows that the world’s major players are divided into two groups: those with a good balance between the number of contributions and the number of 5G-SEP holdings and those with a very high number of contributions compared to the number of 5G-SEP holdings (Figure 4). On average, one 5G-SEP comes from every 30 proposals.

The patent application trends for each technology category of 5G has a unique characteristic where the number of applications for 5G essential patents for V2X (automotive), D2D (IoT), and unlicensed operation increased significantly. This trend can also be observed in the increasing number of 3GPP SA meetings where service and architecture specifications are discussed.

In addition to the sales of the search report in the third edition, we will also offer a patent group list under the forecast of various trends. It is intended to support readers to check patent details efficiently and concretely with the focus on target categories such as companies and technology categories.

Key points of the survey results
(1) Estimated number of 5G-SEP holdings[1],
SEP may be declared by each company at its own discretion. For this reason, the declared 5G-SEPs are not necessarily essential to the 5G standard. In addition, there are two types of 5G-SEP selections: one is ETSI based 5G compliance assessment which includes the LTE technologies, and the other is 3GPP based 5G compliance assessment. Furthermore, the specifications of the 5G radio system have significantly been enhanced to achieve new functionalities compared to LTE, such as ultra-low latency and massive terminal connections.

With the above background into consideration, in this study, 1,297 patents (more than 320 patents from the previous study) were selected from the declared SEPs that meet the 3GPP 5G standard, maintaining fairness among companies and conducting comparison evaluations between the declared standard specifications and the patent claims. Thus, the compliant patents were selected as the standard compliant patents.

The 5G standards compliance rate for each company is shown in Figure 1.


Figure 15G standards compliant rate

Eighteen companies from Huawei to BlackBerry have more than one hundred declared SEPs for the 3GPP 5G Standard as of the timing of the survey.

[1] Estimated number of 5G-SEPs held: Only 5G-SEPs that fall under the definition of 5G in 3GPP are counted.

About 10% of the SEP declared patents are randomly selected, and the claims of the patents are compared with the 5G Standard. The patents that match perfectly are defined as compliant patents, and the total number of patents for each company divided by the number of patents surveyed for each company is defined as the 5G Standard compliance rate.

The overall compliance rate is 32%, unchanged from the previous survey (October 2020).

The 5G Standards compliance rate is multiplied by the number of patents declared as 3GPP 5G-SEPs by each company, and the actual number of 5G-SEP holdings (hereinafter referred to as the estimated number of 5G-SEP holdings) is shown in the Figure 2. The results are as described in the preface.


Figure 2 Estimated real 5G-SEP holdings (estimated 5G-SEPs holdings)

(2) Correlation between the estimated number of 5G-SEPs held and the number of standardization contributions

The number of standardization contributions for 5G is approximately 240,000 for Rel-15 and Rel-16 (Fig. 3).

In Rel-16, the number of contributions to SA is about 1.5 times more than that in Rel-15. This result reflects the fact that the framework of the standardization of the wireless section was almost completed in Rel-15, and that the standardization phase of the wireless section together with the upper layers work is now underway.

The correlation between the number of standardization contributions and the estimated number of 5G-SEPs held by each company is shown in the figure 4. On average, there is one estimated 5G-SEP per every 30 proposals.

In addition to Samsung, Qualcomm and NTT DOCOMO, which rank first to third in the estimated number of 5G-SEP holdings, Nokia, ZTE, and LG have relatively balanced proposals and SEP applications. In contrast, Huawai and Ericsson have a larger number of contributions, with more than 60 contributions per SEP application, double the average.

The companies with the largest number of 5G standardization contributions are shown in the Figure 5.


Fig. 3 Ratio of proposals for 5G standardization (per Rel category, per meeting)


Figure 4 Correlation between the number of 5G standardization contributions and the estimated number of 5G-SEP holdings


Figure 5 Top 10 5G Standardization Contributions

(3) Technology categories with more patent applications

In the 5G essential patent analysis[2], the technology categories with increased patent applications over the last survey is shown in the Figure 6.


D2D is a technology category that is expected to be used in IoT and V2X is for automotives, both of which are likely to be used in different industries from telecommunications. Unlicensed operation enables operation using frequencies in the unlicensed band, which can contribute to the flexible operation of 5G.


After extracted by searching and confirmed by wireless technology experts as 5G compliant, 26,000 patents were selected as 5G essential from 15 important technical areas for 5G.

[2] 5G Essential Patents: In this research report, we call patents that are necessary to realize 5G as “5G Essential Patents.” These are patents that are determined as necessary after searching the technological keywords to realize 5G and confirmed by radio technology specialists as compliant to the aiming 5G technologies. They include 5G implementation patents besides 5G-SEP.


Figure 6  Sharply increased 5G technology categories in this survey

The table of contents for the research report is listed in the following link;


Outline of survey targets

(1) 5G-SEP declared patents

Surveyed : ETSI’s SEP List https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_sr/000300_000399/000314/

Unit of analysis: INPADOC family base

Surveyed list acquisition period : November 2020 publication

(2) 5G Essential Patents

Search Target: Patents that are assessed as essential for 5G implementations, extracted from the patents in 15 technology areas for 5G using the search system: Derwent Innovation

Patents searched: worldwide patent gazettes

Unit of analysis: INPADOC family base

Survey period: January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2020 (Added one year portion from the second edition)

(3) 5G standardization contribution

Survey target: Number of proposed contributions to 3GPP meetings

Surveyed contributions: 3GPP’s website: https://www.3gpp.org/specifications-groups/specifications-groups

Unit of analysis: by contribution

Surveyed list acquisition period : Rel-15: March 2016 to September 2019; Rel-16: December 2017 to December 2020.


Service provision

In this third edition of the survey, we offer the following subordinate services.

  • Research Reports: Overall Trend Survey, Trend Survey by Technology Category, Application Trend Survey of Notable Companies, etc.
  • List of 5G essential patent registration number: List of patents by technology category, applicant, or other specified criteria (optionally, summary of a patent, with or without ETSI declaration etc.)
  • Evaluation list of 5G-SEP declared patents
  • Please inquire us for other individual requirements.



Corporate Profile

(1) Company name: Cyber Creative Institute Co. Ltd. (http://www.cybersoken.com)

(2) Representative: Hirohiko Sato, President and CEO

(3) Location of head office: 5F Gotanda First Building, 2-8-1 Nishi-Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo

(4) Company foundation: April 2001

(5) Main businesses: The following businesses related to information and telecommunications

  1. Survey and research
  2. Patent service
  3. Engineering
  4. Education and training

(6) Paid-in capital: 30 million yen

For inquiries to this release, please contact:

Cyber Creative Institute Co. Ltd.

Patent Search and Analysis Department 5G Essential Declared Patent Search Team

Attn: Kenji Nakanishi

Tel : +81-3-3490-3186

Email: contacts@cybersoken.com

12/October/2020 We conducted a patent essentiality assessment of 5G standard essential patents declared by ICT companies to ETSI (declared 5G-SEPs1) to know the ownership status of essential 5G patents.Since the declaration of 5G-SEPs to the standardization organizations is made based on each company’s self-assessment, some patents that are not objectively essential to the 5G standard are declared as 5G-SEPs. Therefore, simply comparing the number of patents declared as 5G-SEPs does not reveal the true strength of the major companies.The results of the consistency evaluation show that the average consistency rate is 32%, with NTT DOCOMO (81%), InterDigital (48%), and Qualcomm (45%) in the order of highest consistency rate.Using this figure, the total estimated number of real 5G-SEPs by multiplying the number of 5G-SEP declarations by the harmonization rate is approximately 6,400 as of the end of June 2020.

The top 10 companies in terms of the estimated number of real-world 5G-SEPs holding are Samsung (11.9%), Qualcomm (11.6%), Huawei (11.3%), ZTE (10.9%), Nokia (including ALU) (9.7%), NTT DOCOMO (9.5%), LG (6.8%), and Ericsson (4.8%), Sharp (3.0%), and InterDigital (2.8%).

Of these, the top six holdings are closely matched at around 10%.

The analysis results of the patents that were evaluated for consistency are available for purchase.

→(Excerpts) 5G Essential Patents, ETSI Declared 5G-SEPs and promissing patents for 5G Survey Report

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