A CLOSER LOOK AT META'S PATENT PORTFOLIO
META has come a long way since filing its first patent application in 2011. In September 2021, META added a highly experienced Chief Intellectual Property Officer (CIPO), Shann Kerner, Ph.D., J.D., to the executive team. As of March 1, 2022, we own a large and rapidly growing portfolio, with 269 active filed applications, of which 163 patents have issued. Our IP portfolio is intended to enhance and protect our competitive and leadership position as we pioneer metamaterials production at scale. What does all this IP cover? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of patents, patent families, technology categories, and end market verticals.
At the top level, META has filed 263 utility patent applications, of which 163 have issued, and 6 pending design patent applications. A utility patent is directed to a composition of matter, article of manufacture, and methods of making and using the same, while a design patent is directed to the ornamental, nonfunctioning characteristics of a composition or article of manufacture. META’s utility patents documents are in 74 different patent families, of which 47 include at least one issued patent. A patent family is a collection of patents and patent applications covering the same or similar technical content. The documents in a patent family are related to each other by priority claims. The number of different patent families relative to the total number of patent documents is one measure of the breadth of content covered. Since 2020, META has added 46 patent families.
Segmenting the 263 utility patent documents by high-level technology: there are 164 active patent documents (52 pending applications and 112 issued patents) among 40 families directed to various devices and components, 64 active patent documents (34 pending applications and 30 issued patents) among 19 families directed to scaled manufacturing techniques; and 34 active patent documents (13 pending applications and 21 issued patents) among 15 families directed to fabrication and origination techniques.
We can further segment the 164 active patent documents directed to devices and components into five industry verticals: energy (1 pending application, 22 issued patents, in 4 families); healthcare (26 pending applications, 14 issued patents, in 10 families); aerospace and defense (10 pending applications, 15 issued patents, in 7 families); consumer electronics and communications (9 pending applications, 28 issued patents, in 12 families); and authentication (6 pending applications, 33 issued patents, in 7 families).
As shown in the charts below, META’s active patent documents directed to devices and components also cover a wide range of eleven different technologies, including: 5G (2 pending applications, in 2 families); authentication (6 pending applications, 33 issued patents, in 7 families); displays (6 pending applications, 28 issued patents, in 9 families); energy storage (7 issued patents in 1 family); non-invasive glucose sensing - glucoWISE® (9 pending applications, 4 issued patents, in 6 families); radio wave imaging (5 pending applications, 1 issued patent, in one 1 family); metaAIR® laser glare protection (7 pending applications, 15 issued patents, in 4 families); MRI enhancement systems (11 pending applications, 9 issued patents, in 3 families); various optical filters (3 pending applications in 3 families); solar enhancement (1 pending application, 15 issued patents, in 3 families); and EMI shielding (1 pending application in 1 family).
Within scaled manufacturing, there are six technology categories: RML® (rolling mask lithography) (1 pending application, 6 issued patents, in 2 families); NIL (nano-imprint lithography) (2 issued patents in 1 family); scanning holography (7 pending applications in 2 families); casting tools (4 pending applications, 13 issued patents, in 6 families); thin films (3 pending applications, 7 issued patents, in 3 families); and element embedding (19 pending applications, 2 issued patents, in 4 families).
Within fabrication and origination, there are three technology categories: Nanostructure Fabrication (13 pending applications, 5 issued patents, in 6 families); RML nanofabrication (5 issued patents in 5 families); and RML Mask (11 issued patents in 4 families).
Finally, META’s six design patent applications are directed to a security feature for documents and banknotes.
In summary, META’s portfolio comprises 63 active utility patent documents and 37 issued patents in the United States, and 200 active utility patent documents and 126 issued patents in 24 countries around the world. META plans to file at least 30 additional patent applications in 2022.