21 Per Cent of US Patents Relate to Mobile

As of Q1 2012, over 21 per cent of the patents granted by the US Patent Office (USPTO) are are mobile-related. This compares to around 2 per cent in 1991 and 5 per cent in 2001. In Europe, roughly 9 per cent of the patents granted are related to mobile.

The figures come from Chetan Sharma Consulting’s Mobile Patents Landscape report. The analyst has studied almost 7m patents granted by the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO) over the last two decades to understand how mobile has become a key enabler for all technology companies. It also looked at patents granted to the top 65 technology companies who are active in the mobile space to understand their relative strengths and weaknesses in the mobile patent landscape. The report presents and discusses the findings.

Chetan Sharma notes that Intellectual property has been an integral part of the economic engine of the western world for many decades if not centuries. Over the past two decades, nations and corporations have competed on the creation, funding, execution, and protection of new ideas. Increasingly, the role of mobile devices, networks, and applications has become an important component of the growth story worldwide.

The report also notes how mobile has fundamentally changed how we as consumers behave and how societies and cultures evolve over time. As a result, there has been a big influx of investment and innovation over the last decade. This surge of activity has also translated into increased number of patent filings in the two major jurisdictions of US and Europe. Even developing countries like China and India have seen a significant increase in patent activity in the country. In fact, in terms of filings, China’s share of the global patent grants has increased from 0.8 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent in 2010, placing it third behind Japan and the US, and well ahead of Korea and Europe.

According to the USPTO, in 2011, the number of applications reached over 535,000, growing by almost 54 per cent from a decade ago. Similarly, the number of patents granted grew by 35 per cent to 224,505 by the end of 2011. The numbers of foreign filings are now in the majority for both the applications filed as well as the patents granted. In Europe, similar trends were observed, where the EPO patent grants increased by 46 per cent.

The number of mobile related patents that were granted by the USPTO and the EPO increased significantly over the course of last decade. The US market saw a 390 per cent increase, while the European market saw a 173 per cent increase in mobile-related patent grants.

You can read the full report here.