Huawei makes big stakes on European patents

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — Despite the fact that the Trump administration is putting pressure on European countries to stop using Huawei Technologies Co. equipment, the Chinese telecommunications giant is expanding its presence in Europe by filing more patent applications last year than any other company.

According to the report of the European Patent Office, Huawei has filed 3,524 patent applications. In comparison, the South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co. filed 2,858 applications. Two-thirds of Huawei’s applications were submitted in the field of digital communications, which also includes technologies used to build and operate fifth-generation mobile networks, known as 5G.

European officials have so far largely ignored the persistent demands of the United States, which is trying its best to prevent the largest Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer from participating in the deployment of 5G networks in the United States.

Disputes between Huawei and various US departments do not subside to this day. US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a law that prohibits the use of federal budget funds to purchase equipment from telecommunications companies recognized as a threat to national security, such as Huawei Corporation.

British lawmakers, supporting the decision of the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and contrary to the opinion of US President Donald Trump, voted in favor of a bill allowing Huawei to participate in the 5G network deployment project. However, Huawei is prohibited from supplying or installing equipment in specific parts of the British communications network, called the “central core”.

Presidential administration officials Donald Trump continue to urge Johnson and other European allies to stop doing business with Huawei due to allegations that the company is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and therefore suspected of espionage. Huawei has always denied these allegations.

US efforts to blacklist Huawei did not stop the company from expanding its business. Although there is no guarantee that all Huawei patent applications in Europe will be approved, the company’s actions make it clear that it will receive money at least from patent fees, regardless of what the politicians decide.

Huawei is by far the largest applicant for the number of patents for digital communications. Huawei has more applications than Ericsson AB and Qualcomm Inc. put together.

Last year, the European Patent Office saw a 4% jump in the number of applications, mainly due to leaps in the development of digital communications and computer technology, including artificial intelligence.

The share of US companies headed by Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp., accounting for 38% of computer technology applications. Samsung, Huawei and Intel Corp. made up the five largest patent applicants in this field.

While US companies filed a quarter of all applications, applications from Chinese companies have grown almost six times compared to 2010. In addition to computer technology, American companies were leaders in patents in the field of medical technology and pharmaceuticals. These figures reinforce other studies indicating that Chinese inventors are undermining American dominance in high-tech fields.

Companies file patent applications in regions where they expect to sell products and make profits, as well as making small acquisitions based on the rules of various patent offices.

This is why International Business Machines Corp., traditionally the largest patent recipient in the United States, is not even among the 50 largest applicants in Europe.

Production conglomerate United Technologies Corp. is the leading US petitioner in Europe, followed by Qualcomm and General Electric Co.


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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.