March 20, 2014
The announcement by the European Patent Office (EPO) that Huawei has been ranked 11th patent applicant and 13th patent filer in Europe in 2013 was received with much enthusiasm here at Huawei. The ranking confirms that Huawei is among the leading players when it comes to developing technological innovation – in and for Europe.
The result takes on particular significance for us as a global company with Chinese parentage. In January 2014, a report on patent protection and enforcement in China found that the country’s IP system is maturing quickly with the aim of joining the most highly developed intellectual property protection regimes in the world.
It also highlights that there are more commonalities than differences when compared with the German and US IP legal systems. In all three pillars of Chinese IP law (Trademark Law, Patent Law and Copyright Law) China continues to assimilate the experience of other countries, including the USA, Europe and Japan, with the stated goal of creating an IP regime that encourages innovation.The Huawei-commissioned report, co-authored by law firm Bird & Bird and The Economist Intelligence Unit, concludes that while there is still room for improvement, China is now compliant with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).
At Huawei, we believe that respecting the intellectual property of others is just as important as ensuring that our own IP is safeguarded. The globalised ICT value chain stands to gain from putting in place a system in which all sides can be confident of reaping the benefits of their investment in original research and cutting-edge technology. Introducing a more open licensing system at a global level would help to maximise these benefits.
What’s more, benefits would not be limited to investors alone, as a robust IP legal system not only mitigates and helps to resolve disputes, it also drives innovation, contributing to technological progress and benefiting markets and end users alike.
Huawei pays around $300 million in royalties to legitimately use the patented technologies of industry peers while investing heavily in its own intellectual property. The company invests more than 10% of its revenue annually in R&D. As of the end of 2013, it held more than 36 500 granted patents.
The latest EPO ranking demonstrates that Europe is at the heart of this investment strategy. Huawei had been granted a total of 7 300 patents in Europe by December 2013.