Reuters Study Explores Apple’s Mobile Patent Portfolio For Insights Into iPhone Technology

    The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today released the results of its study of Apple Inc.’s mobile technology patents. The findings, which are featured in the Thomson Reuters paper, “ Inside the iPhone Patent Portfolio ,” details patent and litigation activity across Apple’s 1,298 mobile patents and provides insight into possible future incarnations of the iPhone.

    Following are among the key findings in the report:

    • Top Technology Areas: Apple filed 416 smartphone-related patents since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. Another 279 have been filed for mobile camera patents; 232 were filed for user interface technologies; 149 have been filed for image display; and 88 were filed for battery/power control. Antenna (75), calendar (31), contact management (15), and voice control (5) technology were also among the patents within Apple’s portfolio.
    • Patents to Watch: Among Apple’s mobile-related patents, individual technologies that stand out as key indicators of what future smartphone design may hold include a fuel cell system that will allow a portable device to stay charged for days or weeks, and an educational content display feature that allows users to interact with text to see images of what the word(s) mean.
    • Litigation – Behind the Scenes of the Patent Wars: To provide insight into the ongoing smartphone “patent wars,” the report tracks all active IP litigation between 2008 and 2012, noting a rapid rise in Apple’s recent IP litigation.  By June 2012, the company had already filed nearly as many patent suits as it did in 2010 and 2011 combined.

    “With Apple expected to launch its iPhone 5 this week, the company’s patent portfolio gives us a unique perspective into what may be coming in future iterations of the product,” said Bob Stembridge, an intellectual property analyst at Thomson Reuters and author of the report. “The recent and rapid increase in Apple’s IP litigation activity is indicative of just how valuable intellectual property can be to an organization and the lengths to which an organization will go to defend the inventions it’s worked so hard to develop.”

    Data for this report were aggregated using Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPIsm) to identify global patent activity for Apple Inc. in the Derwent Manual Code category for portable, hand-held mobile radio telephones. Additionally, Thomson Reuters IP Monitor was used to identify active IP litigation for the company. Researchers analyzed the total number of unique inventions issued in published patent applications and granted patents between January 2000 and August 2012. Active IP litigation was analyzed between January 2008 and June 2012.

    View the full Inside the iPhone Patent Portfolio paper.