On April 25, 2021, the Intellectual Property Development Research Center of the State Intellectual Property Office of China released the Report on the Patent Development Status of 6G Communication Technology. The report shows that current global patent applications are generally on the rise, and the number of global patent applications in the field of 6G communication technology exceeds 38,000, with China being the main source country of patent applications, accounting for 35% (more than 13,000), ranking the first in the world.

In the field of 6G communication patent technology, China has started to rapidly increase the number of patent applications since 2009, significantly surpassing countries and regions such as the US, Europe, Japan and Korea, and making the largest contribution to global patent applications.

Foreign companies are in the forefront of global 6G communication technology innovation, while China has universities and research institutions as the main force of 6G innovation. Among the top ten global patent applicants, Japan, the US and Korea each have three applicants, and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China ranks eighth. From the perspective of Chinese patent applications, domestic universities and research institutions occupy the top ten positions in 6G communication technology patent applications, which lead the basic R&D of 6G communication technology in the country and form the main force of 6G communication technology innovation.



●Patent development status of key 6G communication technologies

The report further analyzes the patent development status of four key technologies of 6G communication, including terahertz technology, air-space-sea-ground integration technology, deterministic network technology, and AI-based air interface technology. The number of global patent applications for each technology and the percentage of applications in China are shown below.


(I) Terahertz technology

The total number of global patent applications involving terahertz technology was 7,737, showing an overall trend of growth. The largest number of terahertz patent applications (3,118 cases, or about 3,634 items) came from China, accounting for 40% of the total number of global patent applications, while the US ranked second with 1,585 applications. Among the top ten applicants worldwide, six were from China, all of which were universities and research institutions,

with the University of Electronic Science and Technology and China University of Metrology ranking the top two.

(II) Air-space-sea-ground integration technology

An important direction of 6G communication development is to build ground communication networks, satellite communication networks, and deep sea and oceanic network fusion to achieve the global connection bearing air-space-sea-ground integration. The total number of global patent applications in the field of satellite communication technology is 25,509, with 9,159 applications from China, accounting for 31%.

(III) Deterministic network technology

There are 1034 global patent applications filed in the field of deterministic network, The US has a clear advantage in this technology, with the largest number of patent applications (573), accounting for 55% of the total global patent applications, while China has only 232 cases (about 387 items), accounting for 23% of the total global patent applications.

(IV) AI-based air interface technology

The future 6G will be a trend of combining wireless transmission with AI deep learning in the communication physical layer. The current total number of global patent applications in this field is 566, with the most from China, accounting for 75%. Chinese applicants are still mainly universities and research institutes, among which Southeast University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications rank in the top three.