Huawei

When people talk about IP pioneers in China, Huawei is often the first name on their lips. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the might of this telecoms equipment powerhouse: it boasts over 30,000 granted patents, an IP department some 230 strong, 16 R&D centres across China, Europe and the United States, and year-on-year R&D investment of at least 10% of annual revenues (nearly $5 billion in 2013 alone). With over 400 patents granted in the LTE space – more than 15% of the core patents in the area – the company has started to generate significant revenues through out-licensing this technology; a cross-licensing deal signed with Spain’s Teltronic in March 2013 is one recent example. The company has also brokered agreements with rivals such as Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia in order to reduce the cost of in-licensing. When it comes to protecting its rights, the Chinese giant does not shy away from the challenges of enforcement. Its most prominent litigation to date was a 2011 dispute with Motorola over the sale of the latter’s wireless networking business to Nokia Siemens, which ended in a truce that represented a major victory for the Chinese company, which received a one-off fee for use of its technology and secured an agreement from Motorola to drop charges that Huawei had stolen its intellectual property. While telecoms infrastructure is the cornerstone of Huawei’s global business, it is fast expanding into related fields such as smartphones, tablets and cloud computing, where a solid branding strategy has been key to its success: it recently became the first Chinese company to enter Millward Brown’s Top 100 Global Brands.