Skip to main content

How Nokia leads cellular standards innovation towards 6G

Coworkers using smart devices

As Tuomas Saukkonen recently explained, Nokia’s industry-leading portfolio of cellular standard essential patents (SEPs) is built upon our innovation leadership along with a long-term commitment to open standards and our quality-driven approach to R&D and patenting.

A well-oiled machine

When it comes to innovating, it is important to make sure every step forward is taken in the right direction. The starting point is bringing value to the telecoms ecosystem by addressing complex technical problems. We then carefully review the solutions our inventors develop and file patents on those that are of high quality and patentable. This protects our R&D investment and enables our technology to be shared with other companies through open standards.

Solving complex technical problems is a time-consuming process that requires the work of a ‘well-oiled machine’, where every cog, gear, and piston operate together in perfect harmony. Having had a privilege to work in every part of Nokia’s well-oiled machine during my career, I can vouch for the company’s high standards and excellent innovation process, as well as the open, fearless, and empowered culture, where my colleagues strive for continuous improvement.

The story begins in the brainstorming sessions where Nokia inventors come together to discuss and swap ideas with nothing more than a whiteboard. In fact, some of the most fundamental innovations in the industry have been born during these sessions, ultimately ending up shaping the way we communicate in the 5G, including technologies such as Massive MIMO, LTE–NR Dual Connectivity, and NR Power Saving Techniques.

As soon as they make a breakthrough that has the potential to be valuable, our inventors join forces with Nokia’s world-class technical patent specialists who evaluate the identified problem, analyze the proposed technical solution and its benefits, and recommend the appropriate scope of technical protection.

Next, our team of skilled patent counsels draft a patent application and accurately describe the selected technical solution and claimed invention.  If the technical solution is adopted in a standard, the patent application has a high potential to become a granted Standard Essential Patent (SEP) – protecting the invention that is essential to implementing the standard.

As a testimony to the high-quality of our SEP portfolio, numerous Nokia patents have recently been successfully tested and verified in courts around the world as being valid and essential to various standards. The successful management and protection of our IP assets is another demonstration of the power of collaboration between different Nokia teams and units, which my colleague Collette Rawnsley describes here.

The most valuable assets are our people and culture

Ultimately Nokia is a knowledge-driven business. Our most valuable assets are our world-class experts and our strong and inclusive company culture, where the Nokia essentials – open, fearless, empowered – are our guiding principles.

As described in my earlier blog, our culture shapes our work in various standardization and industry organizations worldwide where we strive to achieve the following:

  1. Keep the standardization ecosystem and processes functioning well as a responsible leader

  2. Orchestrate multiple standardization forums as a thought leader unleashing the full potential of innovations

  3. Drive and enable standards innovations as a technology leader

  4. Lead standardization activities with a diversity of contributions, from the pre-standardization-research phase to the standard-specification phase.

Sometimes it involves working hard to convince our industry peers that the solution we believe to be the answer is worth exploring further in the ecosystem. My colleague Antti Toskala describes this in his blog on NR-Light technology, better known as Reduced Capability, RedCap.

This culture is the very foundation in which our strengths are rooted. It fosters creativity and collaboration, ensuring the continued excellence and high quality of our patent portfolio as we pave the way to 6G.

Osman Yilmaz

About Osman Yilmaz

Osman Yilmaz (Dr. Sc.) is currently the Director of Radio Protocol Inventions. Previously, he led Nokia's company-wide Research & Standardization programs on 6G and 5G-Advanced, respectively. He is also the inventor of 100+ patent families

Connect with Osman on LinkedIn


Article tags