The Metaverse is a Pipedream? Patent Filings Say Otherwise

The patent filings show the world’s biggest technology companies are buoyant about the future of the metaverse despite a lack of a clear definition of the industry.
Image source: tripp.com

Summary:

  • LG has filed the highest number of metaverse patents since 2016.
  • US companies accounted for 57% of the patents filed.
  • Overall, 88% of the patents were filed by US, South Korean and Chinses companies. 

A lot of metaverse critics seem to attach the industry’s chances of success to what Mark Zuckerberg and Meta have achieved so far. In their view, because the most vocal major tech company about the metaverse seems to struggle to meet its targets, the metaverse is clearly a pipedream.

Although others attribute their scepticism to the lack of a clear definition of the metaverse, it is generally described as a 3D virtual space where people can interact immersively through gaming, socialising, trading and attending virtual concerts. Others see it as crucial to the next evolution of the internet from handheld devices to immersive worlds.

That’s not what patent filings since long before Facebook rebranded to Meta are suggesting though. In fact, Meta isn’t even leading the metaverse race when it comes to patents filed since 2016.

According to a report published by Nikkei, South Korean electronics giant LG filed the highest number of metaverse patents since 2016. Global electronics manufacturer Samsung came second, a position it has held since 2011, while Meta, led a long list of US companies that were featured in the top ten spots, taking the third position.

Even more surprising is the fact that Apple, one of the biggest critics of the metaverse was featured in the top ten list. The iPhone maker has refused to accept the word metaverse in its pursuit of immersive content and the development of an extended reality headset.

Others included were Microsoft, which was fifth on the global list, while the largest US chip manufacturer Intel also made the cut. This was another surprise considering Intel has not really dominated headlines about the metaverse. Sony was the only Japanese company featuring the top ten, coming sixth.

Overall, the top 20 companies filing for metaverse patents submitted 7,760 patents with US companies accounting for about 57%, followed by South Korea at 19% and China at 12%, while Japanese companies represented 8%.

The filings indicate that metaverse hardware technologies like display colour schemes and semiconductors were primary targets of South Korean companies. On the other hand, Chinese tech giant Huawei, which ranked fourth on the list filed numerous patents related to image and display processing.

McKinsey, published a research study earlier this year predicting that the metaverse will reach a valuation of $5 trillion by 2030, while US market research company IDC has a more realistic forecast of $74.7 billion by 2026.

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