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Follow the patents: A fifth of filings now tied to mobile tech

New data points to a sharp spike in the number of patent filings and patent grants in the U.S. and abroad related to mobile technologies.

Chetan Sharma/Technology & Strategy Consulting

As if anyone needed another data point to grasp where the hot money is heading, a new report has found that about 21 percent of all patents in the first quarter of this year were for mobile technologies.

The study compiled by consultant Chetan Sharma examined approximately 7 million patents granted both by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office. What she found underscores the trend that has been long in the making. In the last decade, the number of mobile-related patents granted by the USPTO and its European counterpart have soared: The U.S. logged a 390 percent increase while the European market witnessed a 173 percent increase in mobile-related patent grants.

When it comes to patent portfolios for mobile, the list is headed by Samsung, followed by Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, RIM, Oracle, Apple, Google, and Amazon.

The percentage of mobile patents granted also is getting bigger when compared with all patent grants. That likely is connected with the sharp uptick in the number of filings. Last year, about 535,000 patent applications got filed for mobile, up almost 54 percent from a decade ago, according to the report.

The trend extends to China and India, both of which registered sharp increases in patent activity in the country. In terms of filings, the study found that China's share of the global patent grants increased from 0.8 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2010, placing it third behind Japan and the U.S. and well ahead of Korea and Europe.