China's ZTE targets 10 pct of LTE patents

* Holds 7 pct of essential LTE patents as of end-Nov 2010

* Targets 10 pct share by 2012

* Role of Chinese players in telecom patents rising fast

HELSINKI, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp 000063.SZ said on Tuesday it holds 7 percent of key patents in fast-emerging wireless technology LTE and aims to grow its share to 10 percent by next year. The role of patents in the wireless industry has increased rapidly over the last few years, with most of the key players involved in legal battles between each other.

LTE, or long-term evolution, is the path being chosen by most telecoms carriers to upgrade their 3G networks.

China’s Huawei and ZTE together hold 15 percent of patents declared essential to LTE standard by the companies, data from ZTE showed.

The role of Chinese companies in telecom patents has increased rapidly. By mid-2009 less than 1 percent of essential patents for LTE were owned by Chinese companies, according to a study by research firm Fairfield Resources.

The 7 percent of all LTE patents makes ZTE the seventh largest contributor to the standard after Interdigital IDCC.O, Qualcomm QCOM.O, Nokia NOK1V.HE, Samsung Electronics 005930.KS, Huawei [HWT.UL] and Ericsson ERICb.ST. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)