The Software Components segment of Smartphone is divided into 3 sub segments Mobile Apps, Mobile OS, and UX/UI.
A total of 64,331 patents are filed in Software Components for Smartphones between 2007 and 2018 at the USPTO. The year-wise filing trend indicates a decrease in growth overall as well for each of the three segments.
The Alice vs CLS Bank decision in June 2014 affected number of software patent applications prosecuted at the USPTO. After 18 months of the decision, 31% more patents were rejected for patent-ineligible subject matter. You can see a dip in the year wise patent filing trend following 2014 – 5587 patent applications were filed in 2018 compared to 6588 (-1001) in 2014. Similar trends are observed in all the three sub-segments as well.
In Jan 2019, the USPTO issued its Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance (2019 PEG) which by Jan 2020 led to a decrease in rejections over patent-ineligible subject matter by 25%. In the future, hence, we can see patent filings in Software Segment growing again due to the legal changes and IoT and driverless vehicles, robo ride hailing taxy like technologies becoming commonplace as smartphone sits at the center of these technologies.
Year Wise Patent Filing Trends in Smartphone Software Components
Top Patent Holders in Smartphone Software Components
Just like in the hardware part, Samsung is dominating two of the sub-segments i.e. mobile applications and UI/UX. Qualcomm holds most US patents in operating system, with Microsoft at #2. An old pioneer, Blackberry, managed to be in the top 3.
In 2017, Blackberry signed a deal with Teletry to license its patents to smartphone manufacturers, and sued many companies for patent infringement in recent years. Its patent portfolio may pose a risk of patent infringement to over 2000+ companies. You can explore more about licensing potential of Blackberry’s patent portfolio here: Blackberry’s portfolio can pose a litigation threat to approx 2000+ companies