6G Patents: China Continues Its Domination

If you enjoy always having the latest technology, then you’ll appreciate learning some data about recent patent filings. According to these data, 6G technology is on track to be rolled out in 2030.

That’s good news for many tech enthusiasts who are looking forward to sixth-generation communication networks, which are projected to be 10 times faster than fifth-generation technology.

Experts predicted that China’s development of 6G-related technologies would slow down after sanctions were leveled against Huawei Technologies in 2019 by the U.S. government. However, China seems to have simply switched gears from Huawei to universities and several state-run businesses, though Huawei continues to be a player in this arena.

A joint research project engaged in by Cyber Creative Institute and Nikkei Asia recently discovered that approximately 20,000 patent applications have been filed, each of which deals with 6G-related technologies. Subject matter in these patent applications covers artificial intelligence, base stations, quantum technology and communications. Observers expect such technology to make fully autonomous driving a reality as well as high-definition virtual reality. It also will improve Internet connections around the world, which will be especially helpful if you ever find yourself stranded in a remote desert.

According to the research project, China is leading the way in terms of the number of 6G technology patent applications filed. Typically, this is an indication of rapidly advancing technology, and with China filing the majority of the applications, this means that China will have the upper hand when it comes to setting industry standards.

The research shows that 40.3 percent of all 6G patent filings were completed by Chinese applicants. They were followed at 35.2 percent by the U.S., Japan at 9.9 percent, Europe at 8.9 percent and South Korea at 4.2 percent.

China’s 6G Patent Applications

The majority of China’s 6G patent applications are focused on mobile infrastructure technology. Once 6G is up and running, aerial coverage, which will be provided by devices like satellites, in addition to ground base stations will be necessary for providing broader radio bands. In fact, Huawei has been responsible for many of the recent patent applications, and they were known to control some 30 percent of the base stations in the world in 2020. Patent holders in China also include China Aerospace Science and Technology and State Grid Corporation of China, both of which are state-run enterprises.

Similarly, Huawei held the lion’s share of 5G patents, comprising an approximately 12 percent share. This appears to foreshadow an enormous presence in the 6G space as well.

Huawei has been defiant in the face of the sanctions placed on it by the U.S. government. They have announced that they are continuing to work on developing 6G technology. Moreover, the company published an advanced 5G white paper as recently as August 2021.

In related efforts, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China launched a 6G satellite, the first of its kind, in November of 2020. While industry experts believed that the U.S. ban would make it harder for companies in China to continue to develop cutting-edge base stations or smartphones, but with government-led research, the country doesn’t seem to have missed a step.

In fact, China is pushing an initiative called “Made in China 2025” that places a priority on developing next-generation communications technology. Under the auspices of the initiative, financial assistance has been provided to countries that are building 5G networks in places across Africa and the Middle East.

The U.S. Next G Alliance

In the U.S., companies in the Internet and smartphone spaces are focusing on software and terminals. Intel and Qualcomm, for example, have added to their patent portfolios with patents that are directed toward chips that are used for IT equipment and smartphones.

The Next G Alliance initiative in the U.S. also is working toward the coming of the 6G era. Apple and Google are involved in the alliance along with numerous other concerns. Doing its part, the U.S. government is allowing the alliance complimentary access to test radio waves. Experts expect that 6G will allow the integration of communications with AI, augmented reality and virtual reality.

6G Developments in Japan

The Nippon Telegraph & Telephone company holds a number of patents in the area of mobile infrastructure networks and optical communications. This includes technology that is aimed at lessening data delays and congestion.

On the Horizon

A United Nations body called the International Telecommunication Union is working with various industry groups to advance 6G technology. They plan to begin setting 6G standards sometime in 2024. Given China’s many patents that are related to this technology, it is likely that they will have a strong voice in the rule-making process.

Although Washington continues to attempt to slow development of mobile communications products in China, a senior official of the International Telecommunication Union remarks that it likely will be impossible to exclude China from upcoming 6G technology discussions.

Contact Williams IP Law for More

Whether you are an inventor working in the 6G arena or are developing something entirely different, you need an experienced patent attorney to help you obtain the necessary patent protection. Schedule your consultation with Williams IP Law today.