Feeding the Mobile Addiction

Walk down the street of any city in the world and the evidence is impossible to ignore: we are addicted to our phones. Whether you’re standing in front of a cathedral in Florence, the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall of China, the odds are good that the majority of people standing near you will be looking down at a five inch screen in the palms of their hands.

The phenomenon has become a gold mine for the telecom companies developing everything from the handsets themselves to the wireless networks that give us lightning-fast connectivity wherever we may roam. As the quest to achieve ever-faster Internet speeds and wider ranges continues, innovation activity in the telecom category increased 6% over the last year alone, and the bar was raised 22% in mobile telephony over the last five (patents serve as a proxy for innovation).

Leaders in the space include Samsung (S. Korea); Huawei (China); and LG (S. Korea) but tech giants aren’t the only ones getting in on the game. The top three organizations generating the most influential telecom research are all academic institutions: Rice University (Texas), University of California Berkeley, and State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook, respectively.

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“Rapid innovation is the lifeblood of the wireless industry. It was only six years ago when the Apple iTunes and Android app stores were introduced, and grew from almost zero to nearly $10 billion from 2007 to 2013.”

Tom Power SVP and General Counsel of CTIA, The Wireless Association

Patent Activity



Change from 2013
*Unique innovations may be represented in multiple subsectors.

Top 5 Companies

  • 1 Samsung 4261
  • 2 Huawei 4070
  • 3 LG 2538
  • 4 ZTE Corp 2379
  • 5 State Grid Corp 1894
  • 1 Ericsson 1671
  • 2 Alcatel Lucent 935
  • 3 Nokia 872
  • 4 Bosch 314
  • 5 Siemens 275
  • 1 Qualcomm 2208
  • 2 IBM 1462
  • 3 Apple 1162
  • 4 Google 1130
  • 5 Intel 1052

(Patent Data as of March 2015) Total number of documents by region