With four new 5G-enabled iPhones set to launch today, and a significant number of 5G patents already granted, a significantly larger number are in the queue waiting to issue. Expect businesses to sharpen their focus as products that employ 5G technology mature and Covid-19 risk-management evolves.
A flood of new 5G patents are set to issue in at least three key areas: autonomous vehicles, healthcare and smart cities. To at least some extent all will be tied to phones.
For AV’s alone, 639 patents have already been granted by the USPTO, while 1,471 have been published (see graph above) and will likely issue in the next 12-24 months. With the owners technology businesses and consumer electronics companies, as well as automobile manufacturers, the plethora of new rights could be setting the stage for a series of nasty patent licensing and litigation disputes.
These disagreements are not likely to be on the scale of the smart phone wars of 2011-2012, but the more parties who own quality 5G patents the greater likelihood of conflict.
For healthcare 5G, 440 patents have been issued and 563 have been published and, if they complete patent office examination successfully, are waiting to be granted. Finally, according to DexPatent, 391 “smart city” patents have been issued, which 516 wait to be. Expect Apple and Apple devices to play a major role in all of these areas.
On Thursday the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates their Wireless 5G NR Sub-6 GHz Architecture “designed for human safety while remaining powerful.”
Apple says that most 5G NR Sub-6 GHz chip systems play it safe when users are in close contact with a mobile device. By doing so, reports Patently Apple, “the speed of the wireless communication loses strength.” Apple’s solution, is a sophisticated multi-dimensional architecture that ensures that the user device will optimally operate without endangering the user.
It is difficult to tell right now if this patent will be a key differentiator.
Image source: DexPatents; phonearena.com