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Acquire Standard Essential Patents in 5G to grow your portfolio

With the deployment of 5G networks speeding up across the world, 5G SEP declarations are also skyrocketing. All the SEP holders are aggressively declaring their 5G SEPs to ETSI to strengthen their position in the industry. Nokia, for instance, announced last year that they declared over 3000 5G families to ETSI (source). Samsung also claimed last month that they have the highest share of 5G declared patents (source). 

If you want to benefit in this 5G race, it is imminent that you have a strong SEP portfolio. This would help you in generating revenue streams and undergo cross-licensing deals with other SEP holders. 

Currently, telecom leaders like Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Ericsson, etc. are holding the maximum share of the 5G IP cake. These companies backed with their strong R&D teams, and rich experience of working at 3GPP, were able to build a good portfolio of SEPs to date. 

Now, here’s the twist: these are not the only companies working on 5G. Consumer-based companies who make standard-compliant products such as Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo, Xiaomi, etc., with their R&D team, play a secondary role in developing 3GPP standards are a new entrant in the race. However, these entrants are facing a hard time competing with these Top SEP holders. Resultantly, they have to share a huge portion of their profits with these SEP holders.

If you are an executive working in one of these entrants reading this, you might be seeking an answer to the below question: 

What approach should a company follow, if their R&D team is not able to generate enough SEPs? 

IP Acquisition is the answer. In fact, companies like Oppo, Xiaomi have adopted this strategy and acquired a few 5G patents too. The below table highlights some of the recent patent acquisitions by these companies.

Patent Number Seller Buyer
US10542561B2 WILUS Institute Of Standards And Technology Inc Xiaomi
US9882617B2 Ericsson Oppo
US20200052744A1 Shanghai Langbo Communication Technology Company Limited Oppo

However, IP acquisition is easier said than done. 

Finding the right seller, having the right set of patents can prove to be a herculean task if a proper strategy is not followed.

Fret not, this strategy can help you find the right 5G SEPs to acquire

From our past experience of working in patent acquisition projects, we noticed that universities and lesser-known companies (i.e. relatively new in the industry) are the most prospective sellers of potential SEPs. 

If you’re looking to acquire patents, these should be your go-to targets. But there are other factors as well that need to be evaluated — like whether the company makes a standard-compliant product or not, past IP transactions, etc. — that play a role in deciding the motivation factor of selling a patent. 

The higher the motivation factor, the better are your chances of getting their IP. So we collated a list of all these parameters and devised a model for obtaining a probability score for a company indicating its motivation for selling the patents.

We peruse this below model during our acquisition projects to find the ideal candidates for acquisition. If you want to know more about this model or found yourself in a similar situation where you need help, send us an email at sales@greyb.com and we will walk you through the details. 

Based on the probability score, a list of potential sellers can be generated. 

Once that’s done, the next step would be to find out the gem patents from their patent portfolios which sometimes can be very huge.

This is where we have harnessed machines and artificial intelligence to make our work easier. Our in-house AI SEP Predictor tool is trained based on more than 10000 patents (manually confirmed as Core SEP or non-Core SEPs) helps ease the task.  

To illustrate its working, we ran Ofinno’s portfolio (a potential seller) through our SEP prediction tool. Here’s what we found. 

Source: GreyB’s Proprietary SEP Prediction Tool

Ofinno has a good number of patents with a high probability SEP score (>90). Ofinno also qualifies as a potential seller as they have already transferred some of its 5G technology to companies like Huawei, Samsung, Comcast, etc.

Such companies with high SEP probability scores can be a good starting point to find potential SEPs which can be acquired. The above approach would enable us to sift through and find a list of 5G patents with a high probability of being SEPs and are currently with potential sellers.  

Concluding Notes

If you are responsible for the 5G portfolio of your company and are desperately looking for a way to strengthen it, then the acquisition of SEPs is the solution. 

Exploring such patents from potential sellers will not just improve your existing SEP portfolio but also help place you at a better position during negotiations with top SEP holders. 

How do you get this list of potential sellers to acquire 5G SEPs from? This is where GreyB can help. Send us a quick email at sales@greyb.com and we can help you get the potential sellers and the top SEPs in their portfolio you should acquire based on your needs. 

Authored by: Aman Kumar, Prior Art Team. 

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