Developing nations look to the U.S. patent system for inspiration as they seek to kindle home-grown technological innovation and bolster their economies, and now Qualcomm is playing a bigger part of that inspirational story.
“Countries across the globe view the intellectual property system [here] as a route to economic development,” U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee noted during a discussion of patent policy with me on stage Tuesday at Bloomberg’s annual technology conference in San Francisco. “The United States is the gold standard.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The author and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee share the stage.
As I reminded the audience, Qualcomm is the perfect object lesson for what an invention company can accomplish with the help of intellectual property and patents in particular. For three decades, our patents have supported the engineering and R&D that produced the technologies behind the worldwide mobile revolution, the creation and commercialization of the connectivity that now defines contemporary life. This is why Qualcomm so greatly appreciates and champions the role of patents in industrial and developing countries and why maintaining strong patent protection rooted in the rule of law is one of the company’s highest policy priorities.
Now, we have been given the privilege of having Qualcomm’s patented technology featured by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame as part of the museum’s recent renovation. Qualcomm is one of just two companies recognized in this way for what our patents and technology have made possible.
The “Connectivity Changes Everything” exhibit includes our new interactive Wireless Technology Family Tree, which you can check out at wirelessfamilytree.com, and explores the history of Qualcomm’s technological contributions to the world.
The two-year exhibit in the Hall of Fame, on the ground floor of the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va., starts with Irwin Jacob’s visionary statement in 1990: “We are here because someday, everyone will have their own phone number.” The exhibit offers visitors a look at the invention process; some key breakthroughs from the 2G, 3G and LTE eras; innovations behind GPS navigation, mobile video, app distribution and usage, and creation of the smartphone itself; a video about what peak data rates enable; and some examples of how we’re making possible the Internet of Things (IoT). The Wireless Technology Family Tree mentioned above is on two touchscreens. It allows visitors to explore 30 of our more important patents and how they touch people’s lives around the world.
There’s also a cartoon that illustrates the standards-development process and the role played by standards-essential patents that you can see by clicking here. Our industry has grown so much and so quickly through each generation of mobile technology thanks to the fair, open and merit-based standards-development process, in which Qualcomm has played a pivotal role. And even more than the 3G and 4G (LTE) standards built so much on Qualcomm’s technology, 5G standards for the IoT era will need to be reliable and secure to ensure the interoperability of systems connecting cars, homes, city and industrial infrastructure and so much more.