Intellectual property will be used to further develop HAPS business and contribute to growth of the industry

TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434, “SoftBank”) announced that it has acquired approximately 200 patents, including patents pending, for High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) from Alphabet Inc.’s Loon LLC (“Loon”) following the winddown of Loon earlier this year. With these patents, SoftBank and its subsidiary HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”) will collectively own approximately 500 HAPS-related patents, including patents pending, further establishing their position as intellectual property (IP) leaders in the HAPS industry. The patents are related to network technologies, services, operations and aircraft for HAPS.

SoftBank and HAPSMobile will utilize this expanded patent portfolio to accelerate their preparations for commercial HAPS services. Furthermore, as founding members of the HAPS Alliance*, an association of cross-industry players working to enable a HAPS ecosystem, SoftBank and HAPSMobile intend to utilize their HAPS IP portfolio to promote standardization and interoperability in the HAPS industry.

HAPSMobile and Loon had a strong track record of collaboration. In April 2019, HAPSMobile and Loon formed a strategic relationship to advance the use of HAPS vehicles. In February 2020, both companies founded the HAPS Alliance and jointly completed development of a communications payload. In September 2020, this payload was used to deliver LTE connectivity from HAPSMobile’s “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system, during its first stratospheric test flight, marking a world-first for a fixed-wing autonomous aircraft. The sale of Loon patents is in line with SoftBank’s commitment to support the HAPS industry and find ways for Loon’s innovations and technology to live on.

*As of September 30, 2021, the number of HAPS Alliance members is 44.

  • SoftBank, the SoftBank name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of SoftBank Group Corp. in Japan and other countries.
  • HAPSMobile and Sunglider are registered trademarks or trademarks of HAPSMobile Inc.
  • Other company, product and service names in this press release are registered trademarks or trademarks of the respective companies.

About SoftBank Corp.

Guided by the SoftBank Group’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution – Happiness for everyone,” SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) combines telecommunications services with cutting-edge technologies to create and operate new businesses. SoftBank Corp. serves more than 45 million mobile consumer and enterprise subscribers in Japan, and as part of its “Beyond Carrier” strategy, is redefining industries by leveraging its unique strengths as a network operator to fully harness the power of 5G, big data, AI, IoT, robotics and other key technologies. To learn more, please visit https://www.softbank.jp/en/

About HAPSMobile

HAPSMobile Inc. is a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. that plans and operates a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business with the aim of bridging the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile is primarily engaged in network equipment research and development for the HAPS business, construction of core networks, new business planning and activities for spectrum usage. AeroVironment, Inc. is HAPSMobile’s minority owner and aircraft development partner for “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems that flies approximately 20kms above ground in the stratosphere. For more information, please visit https://www.hapsmobile.com

Contacts

For SoftBank Corp. and HAPSMobile Inc.

Matthew Nicholson

Suzuha Tanaka

+81-3-6889-2301

sbpr@g.softbank.co.jp

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