What tech defines the Internet of Things (IoT) and who are the major IoT tech players? These are the topics of countless articles and images attempting to qualitatively define and illustrate the IoT phenomenon. One of the most important aspects of any tech analysis is analyzing which players have quantifiably demonstrated their tech leadership in the relevant technological fields. From an asset analysis perspective, the most commonly-used indicia of tech leadership has historically been, and remains, patent portfolio analytics.
Who better to provide this patent portfolio insight into IoT tech leadership but the only organization with its work in the IoT analysis field vetted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, IP and technology consulting firm LexInnova. LexInnova prepared a special update of its WIPO-published IoT report for this article.
IoT innovation and patent protection of it are fast-moving: “Innovation in IoT continues to grow exponentially, which has led to the growth in patent filings in this space to overshadow other technologies. This combined with a fragmented patent holding pattern can lead to significant patent licensing activity in IoT related technologies in the near future,” says Abhi Verma, Managing Director of LexInnova.
IoT tech ”Incumbents”
Below is the key matrix of U.S. IoT patent filings, depicting which companies scored highest and in which metrics quadrant.
The metrics in this report are based on granted U.S. patents and inventions for which U.S. patent applications are pending. These patents include those invented in-house and those acquired by assignment from third parties. The Portfolio Filing Score on the X axis is a metric of the total number of issued and pending IoT patents by company. The Portfolio Quality Score on the Y axis is based on LexInnova’s proprietary algorithm that adapts the methodology set forth by Mark A. Lemley, Kimberly A. Moore, John R. Allison, and R. Derek Trunkey in their research paper, “Valuable Patents” to calculate the quality of inventions. This algorithm also takes into account tech coverage, citation score, claim broadness, and the ratio of patents granted and applied-for patents.The scores within each of these individual categories can be found in the Appendix of the report.
The IoT Tech Incumbents are “players which have a good patent portfolio in terms of quality but miss out on the filing front.” There is currently no company in the Leadership quadrant (green), due to lower numbers of patent filings relative to some of the higher-filing players (shown in the orange quadrant). However, according to LexInnova’s analysis, Nokia, Somfy, Microsoft and Intel are poised to move into the Leadership quadrant if they increase the number of high-quality patent filings. Also, Ericsson, Qualcomm and LG have the highest number of filings relative to the group, but relatively lower portfolio scores, which kept them from qualifying for placement in the “Leaders” quadrant under the analytics used in this report.