Some familiar wireless company names topped the list for most mobile patents granted in 2013--and they weren't all just R&D heavyweights like Samsung and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). According to a report from analyst Chetan Sharma, AT&T (NYSE: T) was among the top 10 companies that were awarded the most patents in 2013. AT&T was the only operator to break the top 10 list, but Sharma noted in his report that other U.S. operators are also big patent winners including Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS).
Sharma's report, "The Mobile Patent Landscape 2014," found that 25 percent of all patents granted in the United States last year were related to mobile technology--that's up from 5 percent in 2001. In Europe, about 10 percent of patents granted were mobile related.
Not surprisingly, Samsung was granted the most mobile patents in 2013 in the U.S. and worldwide. Other companies to make the top 10 list globally were IBM, Qualcomm, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), LG, Sony, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and AT&T.
Sharma noted that U.S. operators were generally awarded more patents than their overseas counterparts. However, NTT DoCoMo, Telecom Italia, Swisscom, Orange, SK Telecom and TeliaSonera also ranked in terms of patent awards.
The top categories for patents that were granted in 2013 included telecommunications, digital multiplexing, digital processing--data transfer, digital processing--financial and computer graphics. Sharma noted that the multiplex communications category saw the largest increase in patent filings, probably because of all the research being done in the LTE and LTE-Advanced area.
Among smartphone and handset vendors, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, Google, LG, RIM, Fujitsu and Panasonic were the top patent winners. Sharma said that despite BlackBerry's financial struggles, the company has maintained its patent efforts.
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