1. LTE IPR Analysis for OFDM/MIMO Standards Total of 211 patents, issued and published in the United States before Sept. 1, 2009, are analyzed for LTE OFDM/MIMO innovations. The lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online are used in the analysis except for Motorola’s essential patent candidates. A keyword search is used for the identification of Motorola’s essential patent candidates. To evaluate the quality of the LTE patents for OFDM/MIMO standards, patent disclosures for each essential patent candidate are compared to the technical specifications for LTE OFDM/MIMO standards (TS36.211 V8.70). Qualcomm, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Nortel, Texas Instruments, InterDigital, Ericsson, ETRI, Nokia Siemens Networks, ETRI, Huawei, Sony, and NEC were the major LTE OFDM/MIMO IPR holders. As for the most described field of technical specification, Down Link OFDM/MIMO (Section 6.3) was the top in the OFDM/MIMO essential patent candidates followed by PUCCH (Section 5.4) and PUSCH (Section 5.3). (Fig. 1.1)
Fig. 1.1 LTE OFDM/MIMO Essential Patent Candidates Analysis: Distribution in Technical Specifications
1. LTE IPR Analysis for OFDM/MIMO Standards -2 As a measure for the essentiality of the candidates, Essentiality Index (EI) is evaluated: EI : Criteria E0 : Patent disclosure is nothing to do with LTE technical specifications E1 : Patent disclosure is weakly related to LTE technical specifications E2 : Patent disclosure is partially related to LTE technical specifications, but required further analysis E3 : Patent disclosure is partially related to LTE technical specifications E4 : Patent disclosure is related to LTE technical specifications overall E5 : Patent disclosure is strongly related to LTE technical specifications 51 % of the LTE OFDM/MIMO essential patent candidates are classified as E2, E1, and E0. 49% of the LTE OFDM/MIMO essential patent candidates are classified as high value of EI for the essentiality. (Fig. 1.2)
2. LTE Patent Portfolios for Baseband Products LTE digital baseband for 3GPP standard specifications consists of two core parts: OFDM/MIMO Modem (TS36.211+TS36.213) and Channel Coder (TS36. 212). There are already several commercial products for LTE baseband in the market: Altair Semiconductor's FourGee-3100 LTE baseband processor ( http://www.altair-semi.com/ ), Freescale Semiconductor's MSC8156 processor ( http://www.freescale.com/ ), and Qualcomm's MDM9xxx-series LTE device chipsets. IPR licensing candidate analysis for LTE baseband products in the lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online shows that there are 94 issued patents and 231 published patent applications in the United States as of July 31, 2009. As for the issued patents, Qualcomm is the leader in IPR share (27 %) followed by Nortel (26 %) and Nokia (22 %). As for the published patent applications, Qualcomm is also the leader in IPR share (35 %) followed by Samsung (14 %), and Nokia (13 %).
3. LTE Patent Portfolios for Protocol Stack Products LTE protocol stack for 3GPP standard specifications consists of four core parts: MAC (TS36.321), RLC (TS36.322), PDCP (TS36.323), and RRC (TS36.331). There are already several commercial products for LTE protocol stack in the market: 4M Wireless's PS100 Protocol Stack ( http://www.4mwireless.com/ ), Nomor Research's LTE Radio Protocol Stack ( http://www.nomor.de/ ), SySDSoft's LTE Protocol Stack ( http://www.sysdsoft.com/ ), and Aricent's Protocol Stack Solution ( http://www.aricent.com/ ). IPR licensing candidate analysis for LTE protocol stack products in the lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online shows that there are 79 issued patents and 85 published patent applications in the United States as of July 31, 2009. As for the issued patents, Nokia is the leader in IPR share (41 %) followed by Ericsson (29 %) and Qualcomm (23 %). As for the published patent applications, Nokia is the leader in IPR share (32 %) followed by Qualcomm (28 %), and InterDigital (24 %).
4. LTE Patent Portfolio as Strategic Marketing Tool An interesting point in recent LTE related news is that LTE patent portfolio is used as a strategic business tool, especially for marketing and PR purpose: In recent press interview for “LG's Successful LTE-CDMA Handover", Dr. Scott Ahn, President & CEO of LG Mobile Communications, expressed that LG will lead the 4G innovations based on about 300 LTE-related patents and experiences in leading the LTE standardization. ( http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/08/lgs-lte-innovation-leadership.html ) Yin Weimin, President of LTE at Huawei, advertised in recent press interview that Huawei has been granted 147 Long Term Evolution (LTE) patents by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), representing 12 percent of the total existing 1,272 LTE patents assigned by ETSI as of August 2009. He said that “The achievement reflects our pioneering vision and firm commitment to support operators worldwide as they evolve towards delivering advanced services to end-users through LTE networks”. ( http://www.ednasia.com/article-24626-huaweipullsaheadinltepatentranking-Asia.html ) Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO at Research In Motion (RIM) called Nortel's LTE patents a 'Canada's National Treasure'. ( http://www.unstrung.com/document.asp?doc_id=180246 )
5. LTE Patent Portfolio as Strategic Alliance Tool Based on TechIPm's recent IPR analysis for LTE OFDM/MIMO standards ( http://www.slideshare.net/alexglee/lteiprofdmmimo20093q ), a possible scenario for strategic business alliance between InterDigital (IP licensing company) and Texas Instruments (semiconductor chip manufacturer) is analyzed by comparing to Qualcomm's (IP licensing company + semiconductor chip manufacturer) LTE patent portfolio for LTE OFDM/MIMO standards in number of patents, technology coverage, and quality by Essentiality Index (Fig 5.1 & Fig 5.2). InterDigital+TI's combined LTE patent portfolio for OFDM/MIMO standards shows that the InterDigital+TI strategic alliance could be a strong competitor to Qualcomm in LTE baseband chip and IPR licensing market.
Fig. 5.1 LTE OFDM/MIMO Essential Patent Candidates Analysis: Distribution in Technical Specifications
6. Samsung's LTE Innovation Leadership Samsung Electronics announced that it has developed the first commercial LTE modem for mobile phones. The Kalmia, brand name for Samsung's LTE baseband modem, supports download speed up to 100Mbps and upload speed of 50Mbps within the 20MHz frequency bandwidth. JongKyun Shin, executive VP and head of mobile communications division at Samsung said that “ Currently, Samsung is partnering with LTE developers preparing for a LTE service launch in 2010 and will unveil a variety of LTE devices of different types and with diverse features and options. Samsung is also strengthening its position as a leader in 4G mobile telecommunication system standards. ” Samsung is one of the top in its number of contributions at 3GPP. Four standardization experts from Samsung are also served as the 3GPP working group executive board. Samsung is also actively participating in various programs for NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks). In recent LTE IPR research by TechIPm, Samsung ranked the 2nd in the published patent applications at USPTO for the LTE baseband products in the lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online. (Ref. http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/08/lte-patent-portfolios-for-baseband.html ) Analysis for the LTE OFDM/MIMO innovations by TechIPm also showed that Samsung's LTE patent portfolio is in high quality compare to other LTE IPR holders. (Ref. http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/08/samsungs-lte-ipr-analysis-essential.html )
7. Ericsson's IPR Strategy Ericsson got a public attention by expressing the global market strategy implicitly in the economic recession time: 1. Ericsson's acquisition of Nortel's CDMA/LTE business and assets: Ref. http://www.telecoms.com/12951/ericsson-wins-nortel-lte-cdma-auction 2. Ericsson will invests $1.5B on LTE research in South Korea: Ref. http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/ericsson-investing-1-5b-lte-research-south-korea/2009-07-13#ixzz0Na01kjED Ericsson's intension to get a strong market positioning in the North America and the East Asia also caused a shock wave: 1. RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure': Ref. http://www.unstrung.com/document.asp?doc_id=180246 2. Future in South Korea: Wibro (Mobile WiMax) or LTE?: Ref. http://www.koreaninsight.com/2009/07/officials-to-protect-homegrown-wibro/ What kind of insight can we have from the Ericsson's recent aggressive business activities? One may be the Ericsson's IPR strategy in LTE and future 4G mobile communications.
7. Ericsson's IPR Strategy -2 By acquiring the Nortel's LTE patents, Ericsson could have a strong patent portfolio for LTE infrastructure products: Nortel's IPR licensing candidate analysis for LTE baseband products (OFDM/MIMO Modem and Channel Coder) in the lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online shows that Nortel was ranked 4th in IPR share (10 %) among 14 LTE IPR licensing contenders for the US LTE baseband product market. Ref. http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/08/nortels-lte-patents-for-baseband_06.html By collaborating with S. Korea's strong mobile handset industry, Ericsson may make up the weak IPR portfolio in user equipment products: IPR licensing candidate analysis for LTE baseband products in the lists of patents declared essential to LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online shows that Qualcomm was the leader in issued patent IPR share (27 %) and published patent application IPR shares. Ref. http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/08/lte-patent-portfolios-for-baseband.html
8. Qualcomm's IPR Strategy In interview with the Korea Times ( http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2009/05/133_44748.html ), Qualcomm's Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs expressed that Qualcomm's aims are to become Intel in mobile technologies. Qualcomm's CDMA technology is now used in nearly all of the 2G and 3G networks globally. Patent portfolio for Qualcomm's CDMA technologies is the profit center from patent royalties and CDMA chips. With the company's purchase of Flarion in 2005, Qualcomm is now holding the most competitive patent portfolios in OFDM and MIMO, which is the key 4G technologies used in LTE and WiMAX. In TechIPm's patent landscape research for 4G mobile technologies, Qualcomm was the IPR leader in several areas: LTE essential patent candidates, Mobile WiMAX PCT publications, USPTO issued patents in MIMO technology, USPTO published patent applications for Femto Cell. (Refs. http://www.slideshare.net/alexglee/4gpatents-analysis2009q2brief ; http://www.slideshare.net/alexglee/3gpplteessential-patents2009q2brief ; http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/07/mobile-patent-landscape-multi-national.html ) By building a strong partnership with the major mobile phone manufactures such as Samsung, LG, and Nokia, Qualcomm dreamed about the day when "Qualcomm Inside" is in front side of every future mobile phones.
9. IMT-Advenced Standardization The 4G mobile communication standardization (IMT-Advenced) will be started in full-scale from this October as the beginning of proposal for standard candidate technology to ITU-R (International Telecommunication Union – Radio Communication). The IMT-Advenced standards establishment is scheduled to be early 2011 through the expert evaluation process. 3GPP’s LTE-Advnaced and IEEE’s Mobile WiMax Evolution are the two major candidates for IMT-Advenced standards. The two candidates are expected to be selected by ITU-R. 3GPP’s LTE-Advnaced is backed by most EU based companies and IEEE’s Mobile WiMax Evolution is backed by most Asian and US based companies. Some of Asian and US based companies such as Samsung support the LTE-Advnaced and the Mobile WiMax Evolution at the same time. As the standardization for the IMT-Advenced is heating up, strategic alliances among players sharing interests are now speeding up. In the 22nd Korea-China-Japan B3G standardization cooperation meeting held in Seoul recently, the three countries are agreed to the strategic alliance for the proposal for IMT-Advenced standards candidate technology.
10. Standards and IPR: Japan's National Strategy The iSIPc (ICT Standardization and Intellectual Property Promotion Center; www.isipc.org) is founded in July 31, 2008 to strengthen the international competitiveness of the IPR for international standards in the field of ICT (information communication technology) in Japan. iSIPc is founded by 8 standardization organizations (TTC, CIAJ, TELEC, SCAT, JATE, ARIB, ITU-AJ, JCTEA) in Japan and is operated by industry-university-government cooperation.
11. TD LTE IPR: China’s National Strategy TD LTE is the advanced version of TD-SCDMA, which is independently developed 3G standard by China. In parallel with the TD LTE products development by Huawei, ZTE, Datang, Qualcomm, and Sony Ericsson, FuTURE MOBILE COMMUNICATION FORUM ( http://www.future-forum.org/ ) – an industry association supported by Chinese government (NDRC, MOST and MII) – formed the IPR working group in collaboration with Intellectual Property Affair Center of Ministry of Science and Technology. FuTURE FORUM’s IPR working group will make in-depth research and discussion on TD-LTE and other B3G mobile communication technologies’ IPR-related issues.
12. 4G & Beyond 4G Mobile Innovation: National Strategy in S. Korea "Korea Communications Committee" (KCC: http://eng.kcc.go.kr/user/ehpMain.do ) announced a press release that the first priority for S. Korea's national strategy in the global wireless telecommunication innovation competitions is to develop integrated standardization of 4G mobile technology such as WiBro-Evolution, LTE-Advanced, and IMT-Advanced. KCC also set up a strategic support plan for Beyond IMT-Advanced essential technology development and IPR for the standard technology. KCC's 4G & Beyond 4G Mobile Innovation plan is a part of S. Korea's strategic policy for next generation wireless telecommunication innovation, in which 1.5 billion US dollars will be invested until 2013. As a part of the KCC's strategic efforts, an online site ( http://www.spectrum.or.kr/ ) for supporting the implementation of flexible spectrum policy will be launched.
13. NEC's LTE Business Strategy: Synergy with RFID Recently NEC announced the launching of NEC CASIO Mobile Communication which is a strategic alliance in mobile equipment business among NEC, Casio, and Hitachi. As NEC is one of major LTE equipment providers for NTT DoCoMo’s LTE business which is going to launch its commercial LTE service in the mid of 2010 and Casio and Hitachi is one of major LTE equipment providers for KDDI’s LTE business which plans to launch its commercial LTE service at the end of 2011, the combined company has a high chance of leading the LTE equipments market. In recent LTE IPR research by TechIPm, NEC was a ‘Dark Horse’ in LTE IPR for the LTE baseband modem products ( http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/09/lte-patent-landscape-for-ofdmmimo.html ). In addition to the LTE innovation, NEC+Hitachi were one of innovation leaders in RFID based on TechIPm’s research for RFID patent landscape ( http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2009/04/rfid-innovation-frontline-2009-1q_30.html ). This rare case of being an innovation leader both in LTE and RFID will definitely benefit to NEC’s future business in an LTE based emerging market - RFID assisted intelligent mobile health care services.
14. Motorola's LTE Essential Patent Landscape In addition to the total of 103 Motorola's essential patent candidates published in the United States before Aug. 1 2009, which are indentified by a keyword search, LTE patents declared essential to 3GPP LTE appear at the ETSI IPR Online website are analyzed. Total of 48 patent declarations issued by USPTO are identified for the Motorola's LTE essential patent candidates as of Aug. 31 2009. Top 3 most declared specifications for the Motorola's LTE essential patent candidates are TS36.211 (physical channels and modulation), TS36.213 (physical layer procedures), and TS36.300 (overall description; Stage 6). (Fig. 14.1)
Fig. 14.1 Distribution of S pecifications for the Motorola's LTE essential patent candidates