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Korean companies have dominated the patent competitiveness in the OLED field (News Letter No. 267)



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1. Korean companies have dominated the patent competitiveness in the OLED field

The two companies, Samsung and LG, have engaged in heated competition in the OLED-related patents as well as OLED technical development.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the proportion of OLED-related patent applications filed by the two companies during the latest five years (2008~2012) was 54.2% of the total of 7,184 OLED-related patent applications.

By applicants, Samsung filed the most applications (2,350 applications, 32.7%), followed by LG (1,541 applications, 21.5%), Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (Japan) (272 applications, 3.8%) and Sony (266 applications, 3.7%), among the others.

As of the end of April 2013, the number of the OLED-related patents was 3,713 for Samsung, 1,231 for LG, 383 for Seiko Epson, 327 for Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (Japan) and 119 for Sanyo.

The average patent registration rate during the five years (2008~2012) was 87.1% for LG and 83.4% for Samsung. These companies maintained higher patent registration rates than the average patent registration rate of the other companies, 71.6%.

In the view of the number of patents, the Korean companies including Samsung, LG, etc., are considered as rapidly securing patent competitiveness through OLED technical development.

2. A powerful design is decided by high-pass

As people have grown more and more interested in designs to stimulate the purchase desire of consumers through the external beauty of products, medium/small companies are considered to seek business vitalization through the preference examination system of a design application.

According to KIPO, the number of requests for preference examination in design applications filed by medium/small companies in 2012 was 3,257 (87.8% of the total of the requests). The number of requests for the preference examinations of the design applications filed by big companies was 451 (12.2%). The design applications were concentrated on public designs, such as street lights, benches, etc., which were mainly ordered by local governments.

This phenomenon is because, upon supplying and biding the public designs of local governments, medium/small companies are considered as using the preference examination system to bid for by creating designs and registering them within an entry period.

KIPO will carry forward many systematic improvements to the preference examination system, for example, the easing of requirements for preference examination (simplification of documentary evidence), rationalization of official fees, striving to shorten the examination period in an effort, to positively support the activities of medium/small companies.

3. The battle between the Republic of Korea and Japan is intensive in the patent technology for a camera image sensor in a mobile phone

As the demand of smart phones has rapidly increased, the technical competition regarding a BSI (Back Side Illumination) camera image sensor has become intensive between Korea and Japan

According to KIPO, the number of the patent applications related to the BSI image sensor was only 7 but it has rapidly increased by about 40~50 per year since 2008.

By nations of applicants, Japan and Korea held a large majority of the relevant applications with 53% and 37%, respectively. By applicants, Sony filed the most applications (83 applications), followed by Samsung Electronics (35), Dongbu Hitek (35), Hamamatsu (11) and Sumco (10).

By 2006, Japan filed more patent applications regarding the BSI image sensor compared to Korea. However, Korea with an interest in this field fully started the technical development in 2008~2009. As a result, Korea would file more applications than Japan.

The conventional image sensor has a drawback in that the sensitivity of the sensor to receiving entering light decreases due to the wiring located on a substrate.

However, the BSI image sensor is capable of directly receiving the light through the backside of the substrate, not through the wiring on the substrate. Therefore, since the diffused reflection of the light by the wiring is reduced and the absorption of the light per pixel is increased, the BSI image sensor is evaluated as a technology appropriate for a high-definition smart phone. Thanks to these characteristics, the camera using the BSI image sensor shows an excellent picture when taking a picture specifically indoors or in dark places or against the light.

4. A patent application wind related to a sea wind power is strong!

According to KIPO, the total number of patent applications related to the wind power generation technology has been stagnant, starting in 2010 due to the global economic recession. Few patent applications were filed for the sea wind power generation technology before 2009. However, the number of patent applications related to the sea wind power generation technology rapidly increased from 2009 by 85% or more, on average, every year, reaching 66 in 2012.

The main applicants of the sea wind power generation technology are the three Korean shipbuilding companies, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. As the recession in the shipbuilding industries has become deeper in the global economic crisis, the Korean shipbuilding companies are considered as strengthening the wind power business as the future growth power.

In addition, it is interesting for Korean construction companies to file 23 applications in this field. In the sea wind power generation, since the rate of the engineering work rates is 40~45% (such as foundation structures, towers, etc.), the construction companies are considered as paying attention to the sea wind power field.


The world IP G5 agreed to build a ‘big data’ system of patent information in a patent summit conference of IP5 held in Silicon Valley, USA (News Letter No. 268)


The number of intellectual property (IP) information search service cases exceeded two hundred million (News Letter No. 266)