Huawei Tempts West With New Inventions, Wants IP Protection

Huawei continues its penchant for technological innovation and the pursuit of patents, even though it is banned by several countries in the West. During its “Broadening the Innovation Landscape 2022” forum held this week at its Shenzhen headquarters, Huawei announced a batch of key inventions as part of its biennial “Top Ten Inventions” Awards. 

The awarded inventions range from an adder neural network that reduces power consumption and circuit area to an “optical iris” that provides a unique identifier for optical fibers. The optical iris is designed to help carriers manage their network resources, cutting time and costs associated with broadband deployment, according to Huawei. 

“Inventors have joined Huawei over the past few years after receiving their PhDs,” Song Liuping, Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer, said. “They are full of passion, eager to take on challenges, and work hard to solve real world problems. As a result, they have made major breakthroughs in many domains.”

Huawei increased R&D investment to $21.2 billion, which is 22.4 percent of its total revenue. That represents a 10-year high for the OEM and made it one of the world’s largest investors in R&D, according to the 2021 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, Song told the audience.

“The harder things get, the more determined we are to invest in a future in 2022,” Song said.  “Our new inventions are the direct result of this investment.”

Consequently, by the end of 2021, Huawei held more than 110,000 active patents across over 45,000 patent families, which is more than any other Chinese company. For five straight years, Huawei has ranked first worldwide in terms of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications. It has licensed those patents for everything from smartphones to connected vehicles. Licensing fees from the patents garnered Huawei more than $1 billion in fees from global companies from 2019 to 2021, according to NikkeiAsia, despite U.S. efforts to “curb its growth and innovation.”

Ironically, Huawei spent a good deal of time at the conference, discussing the protection of those intellectual property rights. Only two years ago, it faced U.S. charges of espionage and intellectual property theft. “Protecting IP is key to protecting innovation,” Song said. “We are eager to license our patents and technologies to share our innovations with the world. This will help broaden the innovation landscape, drive our industry forward, and advance technology for everyone,” he added.

Huawei is also working actively with patent license administration companies in offering “one-stop” licenses for mainstream standards. The company is in discussions to establish a new patent pool to give the industry “quick access” to its patents for WiFi devices worldwide. Huawei is also discussing joint licensing programs for 5G patents with licensing experts and other leading industry patentees.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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