Huawei and Ericsson, two of the world’s leading telecom equipment makers, have reached a long-term agreement to share their patents on 5G and other cellular technologies. The deal covers the companies’ respective sales of network infrastructure and consumer devices, granting both parties global access to each other’s patented, standardized technologies.
The renewed patent cross-licensing agreement, which started in 2016, covers patents essential to a wide range of standards for mobile communication. The agreement is for a multi-year term, but the specific length has not been disclosed.
Huawei and Ericsson are both major contributors of standard essential patents (SEPs) for mobile communication, which are required for implementing the technical standards set by organizations such as 3GPP, ITU, IEEE, and IETF. SEPs are crucial for ensuring interoperability and compatibility among different devices and networks.
According to a press release from Huawei, the agreement “demonstrates the commitment both parties have forged that intellectual property should be respected and protected and that leading technological innovations should be shared across the industry.” The company also said that the agreement “creates a stronger patent environment” and “will drive healthy, sustainable industry development and provide consumers with more robust products and services.”
Ericsson echoed the same sentiment in its own press release, saying that the agreement “is the result of intensive discussions that ensured the interests of both patent holders and implementers are served fairly.” The company also said that it is “pleased to announce our renewal of our global cross-licensing agreement with Huawei,” and that both companies “recognize the value of each other’s intellectual property.”
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Ericsson said that it expects its full-year 2023 IPR licensing revenues to be approximately SEK 11 billion (about $1.25 billion). The company has a patent portfolio of more than 60,000 granted patents and invests more than $4 billion annually in research and development. Huawei, on the other hand, has more than 100,000 active patents worldwide and topped the European Patent Office’s applicant ranking for number of patent applications filed in 2022, with 4,505 applications.
The agreement comes at a time when 5G deployment is accelerating around the world, with more than 160 operators launching commercial 5G services in over 60 countries as of July 2023.