AT&T Patents: Imagining Tomorrow’s Experiences Today

January 14, 2016
By Scott Frank

Your future experiences and the quality of how you lead your life drive us. We’re thinking about you, as we file patents today for the technology of tomorrow. We're pretty good at it, partly because we’ve been doing it for years.  From completing the first transcontinental telephone call 100 years ago to modernizing today’s software-based network, the world has benefited from the innovative minds of our inventors and our patent team. 

All told, our people have contributed more than 12,500 active patents, giving AT&T one of the strongest patent portfolios in the industry. In fact, we receive an average of five patents per day.

If you’re not familiar, most patents take many years to become actual products or services. 

Listen to Scott Taylor, our Director of Intellectual Property, tell us more about what makes a good patent. 

As you heard from Scott, some of our patents can seem far reaching. This is because many of our best patents are born when we step into the future and solve for those problems.

For example, consider our space-time block coding patents. Take away this technique and our mobile network might never go beyond 2G. What would that mean for us? Slower Wi-Fi and mobile connections. We likely wouldn’t be using FaceTime or GPS location services, either. 

Patents related to our software-defined network have been a decade in the making, starting back in 2006. That was years before the industry watched AT&T take the lead in revolutionizing the network – even before the first iPhone launch.  The technology keeps us in lockstep with the growing demands from our data and video hungry customers.

Another example is our compression patents. This technology compresses data, making the files smaller so we can stream music, send video files via text and download YouTube videos to our smartphones instantly.  The technology is relatively new, but we filed the patents years ago. 

It’s not easy trying to decipher what a patent will be worth in the future. However, we’ve been at it for more than a century and we think we have a good handle on it. 

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