Huawei Technologies Co. is increasing its footprint in Europe, filing more patent applications in Europe than any other company last year.
Huawei filed 3,524 patent applications, far more than the 2,858 applications filed by No. 2 Samsung Electronics Co., according to a report by the European Patent Office. Two thirds of Huawei’s applications were in the field of digital communications, which includes 5G.
European officials have far largely defied U.S. insistence they exclude China’s biggest maker of telecommunications gear from new 5G networks. President Donald Trump has urged UK and other European allies to stop doing business with Huawei over claims the company is an arm of the Chinese Communist Party and its involvement in 5G could enable spying.
Huawei has always denied these allegations.
A total of more than 181,000 patent applications were filed in Europe in 2019, an increase of 4% over 2018, according to the 2019 Patent Index issued by the European Patent Offic (EPO).
Among them, patent applications from China increased by 29.2% to 12,247, ranking fourth among all countries and regions.
The United States, Germany, and Japan are in the top three.
Huawei ranked first with 3,524 patent applications. Samsung and LG ranked second and third with 2,858 and 2817 respectively.
The surge in the fields of digital communication (+19.6%) and computer technology (+10.2%) is fuelling the sustained growth in patent filings: In 2019, the EPO received well over 181 000 applications in total, 4% more than in 2018 and a new all-time high.
According to statistics from the EPO, the top three technology fields with the most European patent applications from China are digital communications (accounting for 26% of all European patent applications from China), computer technology (11%), and "motors, instruments, Energy "(8%).
Huawei is the largest filer of digital communications patents, requesting almost the same amount as Ericsson’s 1,227 applications and Qualcomm’s 1,061 applications combined.
The European Patent Office saw a 4% jump in applications last year, driven in large part by double-digit jumps in the fields of digital communications and computer technologies, which includes artificial intelligence.
US companies (+13.6% over 2018) accounted for nearly 40% of all patent applications in computer technology, followed by EPO member states (+9.3%) with almost 30% of the total. Applications from China (+18.7%) made up just over 10%. The leading applicants in 2019 were Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Samsung, Huawei, Intel and Siemens. A significant proportion of the growth in 2019 also came from smaller applicants, and from new players.
While American companies have filed a quarter of all applications, applications by Chinese firms have risen nearly six-fold since 2010. In addition to computer technology, American companies were strongest in the fields of medical technology and pharmaceuticals.
For detailed statistics, see the EPO Patent Index 2019 at www.epo.org/patent-index2019.