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A challenge to the intellectual property (IP) rights of an important material used in the production of OLED displays could significantly impact manufacturing costs for the technology worldwide.
A recent Korea Times report that US company Universal Display (UDC) lost a court hearing in Japan, allowing its IP in a material important for the production of OLED displays to be overturned by an unnamed claimant, has suggested the arrangement whereby firms outside the big OLED manufacturing centres in Asia profit from IP royalties and licensing fees could change.
Such developments could allow companies based in Asia, like Samsung and LG, to manufacture OLEDs without having to pay royalties to UDC for materials used.
The patent was originally filed in the US, in conjunction with Princeton University and the University of Southern California, institutes that helped develop the material. While they own the rights, UDC holds the licence.
Mathew Bryan, director of the patent cooperation treaty legal division at the World Intellectual Property Office, says that IP can generally encounter challenges if not applied carefully globally: 'These patents are only valid in the jurisdiction of the office to which they are applied. Therefore, a patent applied in the US would also have to be applied in several other offices.'
'It could be said that if a patent is repealed in one area, the successful company could use that to try and invalidate the IP in other offices where it has been granted.'
Want to read more?
This article appears in full in Volume 3, issue 6 of +Plastic Electronics magazine, a nanotechnology special. We speak to Barry Young of the OLED Association to find out his stance on the patent reports, and what this means for UDC.
To subscribe to +Plastic Electronics and get immediate access to this article, as well as online access to archive articles and a postal copy of the next six issues, visit our subscriptions page.
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OLEDs World Summit 2011
The 13th annual OLEDs World Summit - one of the longest-running events in this sector - is being held Sept. 26-28, 2011, at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco, California. The summit is presented by IntertechPira in conjunction with the OLED Association, and will cover both lighting and display applications