The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing demand for versatile wireless communication solutions across various industries, including telecommunications, defense, and public safety, and growing importance of technologies such as software-based signal processing, programmable radio hardware, and cognitive radio techniques. These technologies work together to provide enhanced flexibility, interoperability, and improved spectrum efficiency, transforming the way wireless communication systems are designed and deployed. 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: software-defined radioBuy 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.

Software-defined radio is a key innovation area in 5G

Software-defined radio (SDR) is a communication system in which traditionally hardware-based components such as mixers, filters, amplifiers, and modulators/demodulators are replaced by software running on general-purpose computers or embedded computing devices. This software-based approach allows for flexible and reconfigurable radio functionalities, eliminating the need for dedicated hardware components.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of software-defined radio.

Key players in software-defined radio – 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 software-defined radio

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 10 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 11 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 6 Unlock Company Profile
Extreme Networks 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek 3 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 11 Unlock Company Profile
Compellent Technologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke KPN 5 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 3 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 22 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 5 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 2 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 16 Unlock Company Profile
KT 2 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 21 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 3 Unlock Company Profile
C3DNA 7 Unlock Company Profile
Rockstar Consortium US LP - Patent Assets 1 Unlock Company Profile
FusionLayer 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nxgen Partners 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson is the leading patent filer in software-defined radio. One of the company’s patents focuses on physical random access channel signal generation optimization for 5G new radio. 

Other prominent patent filers in the space include NEC and IBM. 

By geographic reach, Dell Technologies leads the pack, followed by ZTE and IBM. In terms of application diversity, C3DNA holds the top position, followed by IBM and Siemens.  

Technology innovation in software-defined radio has brought significant advancements to the market by enabling flexible and reconfigurable wireless communication systems.

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.