The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by demand for ultra-fast internet speeds, low latency for applications like augmented reality, and the capacity to support a massive number of connected devices, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced antenna designs, beamforming techniques, and signal processing algorithms to harness the unique characteristics of mmWave frequencies. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on 5G in technology: mmWave communicationsBuy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 1.5 million patents to analyze innovation intensity for the technology industry, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

mmWave communications is a key innovation area in 5G

Millimeter wave (mmWave) communications involve the utilization of electromagnetic waves with frequencies typically ranging from 30GHz to 300GHz for transmitting data. These waves possess shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies compared to conventional radio waves, enabling swifter data transfer and increased bandwidth.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 200+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of mmWave communications.

Key players in mmWave communications – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to mmWave communications

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 176 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 112 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 46 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 1750 Unlock Company Profile
Skyworks Solutions 45 Unlock Company Profile
ViaSat 226 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 285 Unlock Company Profile
Airspan Networks 112 Unlock Company Profile
MediaTek 131 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 280 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 39 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 55 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 84 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 179 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 411 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 293 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 152 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 1051 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 733 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 119 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 657 Unlock Company Profile
ASUSTeK Computer 163 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 59 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 147 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 495 Unlock Company Profile
Convida Wireless 57 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 388 Unlock Company Profile
Vivo Communication Technology 71 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in mmWave communications, Qualcomm is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent described are techniques, systems, and apparatus for wireless communications. A method may comprise sending a primary signal instructing a user equipment (UE) to change the status of a secondary cell linked with the UE; ascertaining a resource allocation for the UE to communicate with the secondary cell; and transmitting a secondary signal that contains an indication of the operational bandwidth part (BWP) employed for the resource allocation as determined. Both the active BWP and the initial signal indicate the shift in status of the secondary cell.  Other prominent patent filers in the space include Ericsson and Sony Group.                    

In terms of application diversity, Airspan Networks leads the pack, while Skyworks Solutions and AT&T stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, ViaSat holds the top position, followed by Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications and InterDigital.                   

 mmWave communications play a pivotal role in 5G technology by enabling the transmission of large volumes of data at incredibly high speeds. These high-frequency electromagnetic waves facilitate the delivery of unprecedented bandwidth, ushering in a new era of ultra-fast and reliable wireless connectivity.  

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 5G.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.