+++ (BBG) China’s Threat to U.S. Telecom Mastery Is Patently Obvious: Gadfly

(Bloomberg Gadfly) — The word China didn’t appear once in
President Donald Trump’s executive order prohibiting Broadcom
Ltd.’s takeover of Qualcomm Inc.
It did pop up a lot in the public and private lobbying that
led to his sudden decision late Monday. The fear is that China
is a rising force, and a merger of the two big telecom firms
would undermine U.S. dominance in the industry, especially
heading into the next generation of mobile technology known as
World Intellectual Property Organization data show the U.S.
is right to be wary. The numbers from the UN agency also
indicate that China’s technological ascent probably won’t be
stopped by one executive order.
To smooth the process of patent applications worldwide,
inventors can file for an international grant through the Patent
Cooperation Treaty, to which 152 states are signatories —
including the U.S. and China. This type of filing is a little
esoteric, but is becoming increasingly important in global
While the U.S. leads the world in such applications, the
two largest single corporate grant holders are Chinese. And
they’re both telecom companies.
ZTE Corp. filed for a record 4,123 patents through the PCT
in 2016, the latest year for which figures are available,
followed by Huawei Technologies Co. at 3,692. Third came
Qualcomm, with 2,466.
This situation isn’t new. ZTE and Huawei have regularly
been among the top three PCT applicants over the past few years.
Yet the massive increase in their filings — they more than
doubled in 2016 compared with 2010 — indicates an aggressive
push as the world races toward the next round of technology.
To be clear, patent applications aren’t a perfect measure
of prowess. The ability to successfully implement technology and
win over clients is important, and Qualcomm is a master at that.
But China’s commitment to taking ground from the U.S. is, well,
patently obvious.