Now, let’s further dig into the data. The dashboard above illustrates the relationship between country of application, technical standard declared, and legal status (pending, active, and inactive). Let’s take a look at the relationship between legal status and country of application.
Now let’s shift our attention to the relationship between legal status and technical standard declared.
The table below shows the Top 3 Technical Specifications for each legal status: most pending patents are concentrated in the NR (5G) Physical Layer category, in particular in TS38.212 (Multiplexing and Channel Coding).
Active patents also focus on Physical Layer but are mostly related to E-UTRA (4G). Interestingly, inactive patents have the same Top 3 Technical Specifications as active patents.
As mentioned in our last report, there are at least two critical factors that may have an impact on the quality of SEPs: essentiality and patentability. In the paragraphs below, we are going to show how Intel’s declared SEPs may encounter patentability challenges because of legal statuses being different between members of the same patent family.
First, we created a matrix detailing the legal status of patents within SEP families that cover both US and CN. Among these, we focussed on those that comprise at least one inactive patent (shown in blue). This causes the legal status of patents or patent applications within the same patent family to be un-synchronized: could this bring to patentability issues during examination? In other words, for these patent families comprising at least one inactive patent (which has been invalidated by a third party) , there is a higher possibility of existing prior art references being uncovered by patent examiners from different PTOs. Potential buyers should know such fact before commencing any transaction activity, mainly to avoid investment risk.
After filtering the data, we found 134 patent families (1279 applications) with these characteristics: therefore, the potential buyers of these assets should take extra care in considering them.
It should be clear by now that digging into portfolios is a practice that every potential buyer or licensee should carry out to prevent issues down the road. As we just saw in the Intel case, in fact, analyzing the data in detail allowed us to uncover potential pitfalls. These insights, combined with an already-consolidated patent strategy, can help in making better decisions.
Stay tuned for the upcoming reports in the series: any feedback is appreciated!