National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) yesterday announced its online “4G long-term evolution (LTE)” standard-essential patent database, urging local information technology companies to use it to keep abreast of the developments in 4G LTE-related patents around the world.
The database focuses on communications patent studies, and provides translated versions of 3,200 US patents and more than 1,000 patent infringement case studies, the state-funded lab said.
With its intention to add 3,000 translated patents to the online system each year, the lab hopes the database will be able to help local firms avoid patent infringement when developing products, as well as generate ideas when applying for a patent.
“With this database, companies can also find a niche market for their products and develop their own strategies,” Joung Yuh-jzer (莊裕澤), director-general of NARL’s Science and Technology Policy Research and Information Center, said at a press conference.
The database can serve as a useful tool for local companies, especially in developing 4G or 5G technologies, Joung said.
NARL associate researcher Lai Ming-feng (賴明豐) said that research institutes can also use the platform as a reference tool when choosing their research field.
“They can either improve existing technologies or invent new ones,” Lai said.
Lai said that the nation has a deficit in technology patent trade, although it has the fifth-highest number of patents filed in the US.
Citing statistics compiled by the central bank, Lai said that the nation last year had a deficit of more than NT$80 billion (US$2.7 million) in trade in technologies, which is an indicator that Taiwan lacks powerful patents.
Though the ratio of patents filed in the US to the number of Taiwan citizens was 355.7 patents for every million Taiwanese in 2012 — the highest in the world — local firms received just NT$30 billion in licensing fees in 2012, while paying as much as NT$115 billion in patent rights fees, the lab said.
Taiwan lags particularly far behind other nations in 4G LTE patents, it said.
Taiwan ranks No. 7 in the world in number of 4G LTE patents, holding 89, which account for 2 percent of the total. Of these 89, HTC Corp (宏達電) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) own 44 each.
The government-funded Institute of Information Industry holds the remaining patent, Lai said.
US-based Qualcomm Inc ranks first, with 655, followed by Samsung Electronics Co’s 652, Lai said.
By nation, the US topped the list with 1,661 patents, followed by China with 1,247, South Korea’s 1,062, Japan’s 678, Finland’s 612 and Sweden’s 399, the database showed.
NARL’s 4G-LTE patent database is accessible at https://tiponet.tipo.gov.tw/TipoMenu/.