What is Qi Technology and Who are the Patent Leaders?

What is Qi

The advancement of wireless charging

The Qi standard, pioneered by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), has revolutionized wireless charging.

Widely recognized and adopted across various electronic devices, from smartphones to furniture and vehicles, Qi simplifies charging experiences by eliminating tangled cables while enhancing performance. Despite the initial limitations of earlier Qi versions, particularly in alignment requirements, the release of Qi v2.0 in November 2023 demonstrates promise.

By integrating magnets to optimize device positioning, Qi v2.0 aims to improve efficiency and potentially boost charging speeds, marking a significant advancement for this technology.

The impact of SEP licensing 

When licensing standard essential patents (SEPs) for Qi technologies, negotiations typically involve two phases: technical and commercial. In the technical phase, the SEP licensor must validate at least one patent from its portfolio as standard essential. The subsequent commercial discussion is intricate, requiring the SEP owner to demonstrate the value and portfolio share of all Qi standard SEPs.

Qi’s patent portfolios often lack public visibility, unlike some standards like 3G/4G/5G with public patent databases. Although Via LA pool members have disclosed their verified Qi SEPs and Powermat has declared its Qi patents, there is no centralized public database for such declarations.

According to estimates from the LexisNexis® IPlytics Qi patent landscape, Via LA pool members represent approximately 26 – 36% of the 3,500+ Qi patents, indicating that a significant portion of patents lies outside the pool. This lack of public visibility poses challenges for licensors, patent pools, and standard implementers alike. 

How many Qi patents are out there? 

To identify Qi-related patents, the IPlytics team employs LexisNexis® Cipher machine learning classification, utilizing true positive and true negative examples. Expert validation confirms Qi patents and identifies non-related ones. This iterative process creates a comprehensive landscape of 3,557 active patent families as of January 31st, 2024.

Via LA experts validate the landscape’s size, noting about 30% of checked patents are standard essential. The cumulative number of Qi standard patent families has surged over the past decade, increasing by more than 17 times. 

The firms leading the wireless charging patent race, and where they are located

Among the top patent owners are Samsung, Apple, Canon, LG Electronics, and Panasonic.

Apple and Samsung also rank highly when counting Qi active and granted patent families and multiplying the Patent Asset Index, (a score that uses a patent’s forward citation and a patent family’s market coverage to indicate a patent’s value).

It is also worth noting that half (6) of the top 12 patent owners are licensors to the Via LA Qi pool.

Ultimate OwnerRegion of HQRank of Qi related patent families (active and granted in at least one jurisdiction)Rank of Patent Asset Index Qi related patent families (active and granted in at least one jurisdiction)
LG ElectronicsKR47

To view the full list of patent owners, please see the Who Leads the Qi Wireless Charging Patent Race? report.

The SEP royalty market for Qi patents is booming. Japanese owners hold 23.98%, South Korean owners 23.00%, and US owners 21.71%. Chinese mainland owners claim 6.74%, Taiwanese 2.1%, and German owners 1.93% of the market.

We analyzed 9,000 Qi-certified products for this report, revealing 1,891 companies adopting the technology. Via LA lists 39 licensees, but major companies like Samsung and Apple have yet to join. Despite significant sales, Qi SEP licensing is nascent, with growth expected with Qi 2.0 adoption. Via LA expects more participants, ensuring standardized royalties.

Why it is crucial to analyze the full wireless charging patent landscape

Only 26-36% of Qi patents are publicly disclosed, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive patent landscape for successful SEP licensing.

LexisNexis IPlytics can provide insights enabling portfolio managers to assess strengths/weaknesses, benchmark against competitors, and make informed decisions toward capitalizing on the substantial royalty potential of over 9,000 Qi-compliant products.

Manufacturers of Qi-compliant products must analyze the patent landscape to prepare for upcoming royalty requests. This involves mapping out numerators and denominators to determine patent holders’ and pools’ shares, comparing licensing offers, and monitoring patent filing and ownership trends to forecast expenses and negotiate effectively.

Tablet showing the title of the report: Who Leads the Qi Wireless Charging Patent Race?

Get the full list of Qi leaders

Meet the top innovators leading Qi wireless charging patent race.

Download the report and explore the massive Qi royalty potential that is still untapped as the market evolves.

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