Nancy Zhang has recently been named Coolpad Group Limited’s first Global Chief Intellectual Property Officer, a brand-new role created within the company. Previously Minister of IP of Coolpad, she will globally support Coolpad’s drive to increase innovation in mobile technologies, and defend patents from infringements. Based in Coolpad’s global headquarters in Shenzhen, China, Zhang will also spend more time in Coolpad’s U.S. offices as the company increases its investment in the U.S with new locations and R&D teams.
“With this new role, we’re communicating to the market the importance of IP protection in driving innovation, and are committed to vigorously protecting our proprietary technologies and patents – and want to position Coolpad as strong player in the western market where patents are important,” Zhang explained.
With heavy investment in its own innovation, the company has been awarded over 10,000 patents in the mobile handset space to date. Zhang has overseen setting up Coolpad’s IP team, which has doubled in size in the past few years including the hiring of team members outside of China to increase the number of patent applications and awards around the globe. Under Zhang’s direction, in 2015 Coolpad became the only enterprise in Shenzhen, China to be awarded a national IP certification, The State Patent Award, which is the highest government Patent Award and the only government award recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Coolpad sees a lot of growth and opportunity within the U.S. and has ambitious plans to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) as the foundation for their efforts to raise the company’s status in the U.S. mobile market. In fact, the company currently accounts for under two percent of the U.S. smartphone market share.
“This sounds small, but is significant as this puts us into the top ten smartphone manufacturers in the U.S., with Apple, Samsung and LG taking most the market. We are aiming to secure between 5-10 percent market share by 2020, “explained Zhang. “On top of smartphones, we see our competitive advantage in the carrier space giving us a go-to-market edge in expanding our wearable portfolio. With our strong relationships with technology partners like Qualcomm, Google, and others, we see Coolpad having great potential in the U.S.”
There has also been a great deal of appetite from carriers to offer new types of products to their customers and Coolpad has always heavily invested in new technologies. She is especially excited about the developments that Coolpad has and will make in 5G and AI. Right now, the company has its eye on expanding into the post-paid smartphone market with a line of mid- and upper-tier devices carried by U.S operator partners, per Zhang. And, those devices will integrate AI capabilities from a new platform Coolpad is building in collaboration with companies including Google and Qualcomm.
“The smartphone market is very saturated, so expanding into a new, growing market like wearables and innovating around new technologies like 5G and AI can help Coolpad’s carrier customers and partners sell more devices and increase loyalty,” she explained.
So, how will this appointment allow Coolpad to vigorously defend its innovations in the U.S.?
Zhang has been tasked with setting up Coolpad’s IP team, which has doubled in size in the past few years, including the hiring of team members outside of China to increase the number of patent applications and awards in the U.S. and other countries.
“I see my role as being the champion for our innovation both domestically, but also as we look to make our mark in the U.S. To be successful at this, we are focused on innovation, both through partners like Qualcomm and through our own R&D,” she said. “Coolpad already participates in various standard setting organizations including IETF, 3GPP, IMT2020, CCSA and more, and I’m looking to grow this participation globally. Being part of these ensures that Coolpad is actively participating in the formulation of relevant IP policies.”
Lately, 5G technologies have been a top priority for innovation with more than 800 patents submitted, with more than 300 authorized, while the company has been involved in setting 5G standards with other industry leaders. With this, Zhang will continue to lead Coolpad’s 5G Standard Patent Portfolio and work with Coolpad partners like Qualcomm and Ericsson to manage licensing of their patents for Coolpad technologies.
Since January 2018, Coolpad has been planning the opening of an AI R&D center in the U.S. According to Zhang, plans are going well and the company will continue to invest here – Coolpad already has a couple of R&D engineers in place in Silicon Valley. Zhang added, “We will assemble a dedicated AI and wearable R&D team locally in the U.S. to be able to expand our portfolio even further and faster, and ensure we are local to serve the western demographic.”
“In 2015, I helped Coolpad to become the only enterprise in Shenzhen, China to be awarded State Intellectual Property Right Enterprises, a national IP certification, The State Patent Award, which is the highest government Patent Award and the only government award recognized by the World IP Organization (WIPO). Coolpad has received this Award seven times, with two focused on Coolpad’s work in 5G,” Zhang said.
Coolpad already has over 10,000 patents, so Zhang will be focusing on ensuring that these and the company’s future innovations are protected. With so many products, their special IP research institute provides IP solutions to help Coolpad’s various business units grow through innovation and defending this against competitors, which allows these business units to concentrate on innovation and bring products and services to market. Meanwhile, Zhang’s team can cover patents, trademarks, design, domain names, copyrights, trade secrets, technical standards and rules.
She added, “I will also be working closely with authorities in China and abroad to strengthen patent protection and implement a proper compensation system to encourage innovation growth among enterprises. From a judicial point of view, the Supreme People’s Court emphasized in its article 1 of 2018 that it is to increase the compensation standards for IP rights infringement and establish a punitive compensation system for intellectual property rights. Both from the perspective of the state policy and from the perspective of justice, all rights holders are in favor of rights protection which is a great win for companies like Coolpad who are focusing on our own innovation.”