AT&T recently expanded their partnership with Google Cloud, enabling use of AT&T’s Network Edge platform for Google Cloud workloads and adding Google Cloud functionality like artificial intelligence to AT&T’s multi-access edge compute (MEC) product. Google has been quiet in edge computing with only a single patent issued and seems to be content with partnerships for edge computing needs as they pursue cloud computing goals. For AT&T, this deal allows them to expand use of their services and leverage their patent portfolio which consists of eighteen patent assets in the last three years.
This partnership falls into what has been a common theme since May of 2021, which is large companies with little or stagnant patent growth in edge computing finding companies with existing patent portfolios to partner with. Patent Forecast® noted these developments for Microsoft and Telefonica, Samsung partnering with IBM and Red Hat, and even Honda partnering with Verizon. This trend has also affected companies that have existing portfolios but partnered to make a concentrated effort on commercializing in the edge computing space, such as the Open Grid Alliance that features Dell, Vapor IO, and VMware.
This trend toward partnerships could be a signal to smaller companies to build a strategic patent portfolio or be left out of the industry by the established technology titans. Advancements in 5G and cloud computing along with a shift toward modern work-from-home policies are rapidly bringing commercialization opportunities for edge computing, and patent assets will be an important part in determining partnerships as companies try to capitalize on the new opportunities. Companies like Lumen have shown how valuable a broad patent portfolio can be and with edge computing becoming more ubiquitous that value will only increase as companies make sure they aren’t left behind. Startups that can patent in the white space of the industry will be in a prime position to capitalize as well through acquisition or partnership.
To look for white space in the edge computing sector or align your patent strategy for acquisition or partnership, check out the Edge Computing Patent Forecast®!