ZTE Joins Apple and Google's Patent War
Image Credit: ZTE

As part of an ongoing campaign to increase its Western market share, ZTE has joined the global tech patent war, becoming the fourth biggest smartphone patent filer in the world.

Allegedly holding the number one rank in its native China, according to a report by the country's State Intellectual Property Office, ZTE has now also taken fourth place globally, with a total of 972 active patent applications.

The report went on to suggest that it had seen a marked increase in ZTE smartphone patent applications between 2003 and 2006. In a subsequent statement ZTE's executive vice president He Shiyou stated: "Patent applications are important to ZTE," and that "our global and domestic rankings in smartphone patent filings show the company's commitment to R&D and innovation."

The news comes just after ZTE announced massive new western expansion plans, seeking to grow to become a top three global smartphone supplier.

"Based on technology innovations including multi-core chipsets, LTE, 4G radio and the latest Android and Windows Mobile platforms, the new devices form a core component of ZTE's ambition to become a top three handset provider by 2015," said ZTE in its pre-Mobile World Congress statement.

Though ZTE lists its increased number of applications as evidence of its innovation, the move has led to some concern within the tech community. Currently, many analysts have argued that smartphone development is in a period of stagnation, with large companies such as Apple, Samsung, HTC and even Google all being embroiled in a slew of patent infringement lawsuits.

The cases have already led to delays on several products, most famously seeing a number of Samsung's Galaxy tablets temporarily banned in Australia and several European territories. The lawsuits were cited as a key reason for Google purchasing Motorola Mobility in the past 12 months.