Huawei has another intellectual property charm offensive

Chinese telecoms vendor Huawei has published the rates it charges as part of a drive to demonstrate how much effort it has put into R&D.

Scott Bicheno

March 16, 2021

2 Min Read
Legal gavel and smartphone

Chinese telecoms vendor Huawei has published the rates it charges as part of a drive to demonstrate how much effort it has put into R&D.

The announcement accompanied the release of a while paper titled Respecting and Protecting Intellectual Property: The Foundation of Innovation, its second such publication in recent years. Clearly Huawei wants everyone to know how much it respects intellectual property, presumably because the US keep accusing its home country, and by inference its companies, of playing fast and loose with other people’s IP.

“We want to show the history of our innovation over the past 30 years and our long-term commitment to respecting, protecting, and contributing to IP,” said Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping. “With this white paper, we want you to better understand how Huawei has become what it is today.”

“Innovation has been at the core of Huawei’s business since the company was founded,” said Jason Ding, Head of Huawei’s Intellectual Property Rights Department. “Our 2020 white paper lists the number of patent applications Huawei filed, or our R&D and innovation activities, in the late 90s and early 2000s. Huawei’s worldwide patent applications were on par with other industry leaders in the early 2000s, and Huawei’s success today is a result of its long-term investment in innovation and R&D.”

The somewhat laboured point seems to be that Huawei is a major contributor to global standards in its own right, so can we chill with all this politicization of IP please? As if to further illustrate Huawei’s magnanimity on this matter it announced it’s charging a ‘reasonable’ royalty rate for 5G phones and will cap the amount it gets paid for any unit at $2.50. This apparently compares favourably with other big standard-essential patent holders.

“Huawei has been the largest technical contributor to 5G standards, and follows fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) principles when it comes to patent licensing,” said Ding, “We hope that the royalty rate we announced today will increase 5G adoption by giving 5G implementers a more transparent cost structure that will inform their investment decisions moving forward.”

Aside from the charm offensive angle it’s not obvious what the point of this heavily promoted white paper launch was. Along with Samsung Huawei is the only big SEP holder that’s also a major device player, so that may also have been a factor. But first and foremost this feels like Huawei seeking to remind the US that it doesn’t hold all the cards when it comes to intellectual property.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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