Huawei Demands 5G Royalties from Apple, Samsung, Others

Posted on March 16, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Apple, Cloud, iOS, Mobile with 11 Comments

Huawei’s chief legal officer Song Liuping (image credit: Reuters)

With its smartphone business crippled by its place on the U.S. Entity List, Huawei this week said that it would require Apple, Samsung, and other hardware makers to pay royalties on the 5G technologies it controls.

“We believe licensing should balance return on investment and cost pressures of implementation in the industry,” Huawei’s Jason Ding said at a corporate event today. But the firm will seek what it calls “reasonable” royalty payments. “For every phone that complies with 5G standards, we will not seek a royalty rate higher than US$2.5 per unit.”

These rates are lower than those charged by other 5G patent holders, like Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm, Huawei said. And the firm will also license Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for use in vertical markets.

“We respect the [intellectual property] of others and pay licensing fees to use their IP according to international rules,” Ding said. “We were one of the first companies in China to sign licensing agreements with Western companies to use their IP, like Qualcomm in 2001 and Ericsson in 2002.”

Huawei owns the largest 5G patent portfolio in the world. And with over 100,000 patents in over 40,000 patent families, Huawei is the largest patent owner in China; over 3000 of those patent families are related to 5G. The company spends over $20 billion each year on research and development, and it makes over 6,000 contributions to international standards organizations every year.

Tagged with ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Huawei Demands 5G Royalties from Apple, Samsung, Others”

  1. toukale

    Shouldn't that be part of the licensing pool the chip makers (Qualcomm, etc..) should have taken care of from the outset?

    • red.radar

      In reply to toukale:

      Perhaps this is there way of saying they are exiting the patent pool, so they can negotiate licensing on their own terms.

      This could have a chilling effect on 5G rollouts

  2. crunchyfrog

    What kind of enforcement is available for Huawei to employ if they don't receive payments?

  3. eric_rasmussen

    My guess is that a large percentage of their patents came from IP that was stolen from other communications companies anyway. Also, since when do Chinese companies care about patents? I worked for a startup company in the late 90s that had a neat idea using a patented hardware design. A Chinese competitor stole the design from our contract manufacturer (who was NOT in China) and started selling a carbon copy of our hardware for half the price. They even had ads in SkyMall. We tried to fight it since we owned the patents, but we eventually ran out of cash and couldn't afford the legal fees anymore. Going through that kind of stress, frustration, and eventually bankruptcy left me disillusioned by just how much China is allowed to get away with without any repercussion.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      The Chinese situation with patents is the same as the US was, when it was developing. Patents from other countries don't count, until the point you are making more of your own patents than others, then, suddenly the US started enforcing patent claims.

      The same is true of the Chinese, they now invest so heavily in R&D and make so many of their own patents, that they are becoming a good patent citizen.

  4. jmountjoy

    “I’m guessing that it’s based on patents stolen from others anyway…”

    ”No Chinese firm cares about US patents…”

    At least half the comments here are based on supposition and guess work. I’m not saying Huawei is innocent or guilty of patent infringement. But let’s not just immediately assume they’re the bad guys and don’t deserve recompense for their “$20 billion a year” in R&D.

    Those comments are passive racism at best.

    • gavinwilliams

      In reply to jmountjoy:

      Oh please, pulling the racism card is very weak. How are we meant to have a conversation if the PC Militia keep pointing fingers.

      • Paul Thurrott

        Guys. I can't post anything about Huawei without the anti-China militia showing up. Xenophobia, racism, whatever. It's the fear, distrust, and hatred of something that is different from you. It's obvious.
        • bluvg

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          What is frustrating about this, though, is to have my comments (I can't speak for others) about China's govt policy equated to being xenophobic and racist (and then deleted, along with any subsequent attempt to clarify). This isn't a personal attack, or about Chinese people. I'm not exaggerating when saying that IP theft is LITERALLY part of China's govt plan--look into China's recent 5 year plans and the Made in China 2025 plan, forced foreign technology transfer, state-funded acquisition of foreign companies, etc. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service reports on this. The FBI reports on this. These are not fringe, ax-to-grind, right-wing or left-wing conspiracies. Please, don't conflate policy commentary with being anti-China.

          It is just as bad when the US govt tries the same garbage (like they tried with the forced TikTok sale). That was reactionary, impulsive, and dumb. Not codified govt policy (!), but still dumb.

  5. nickysreensaver

    Well said Eric. China stole so much US IP and they are still doing it. Not your most favored nation. Thanks Bill.