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LEDs dominate new organic semiconductor patent registrations

24 May 2006

Analysis of patent registrations during mid-2005 shows that the applications for organic semiconductor technologies are mutiplying rapidly. The vast majority of these are in the LED sector.

Of almost 1600 new patents registered worldwide for organic semiconductor (OS) technologies during the third quarter of 2005, over 1300 (82.5%) were for LED developments while only three (0.2%) were for OS lasers. The patents rankings and related data are published in the Quarterly Organic Semiconductor Patent Analyst Report published by SVP DisplaySearch.

Other newly patented applications of OS technology are: transistors (5.8%); memory cells (2.8%); photovoltaics (1.6%); and sensors (0.5%).

The report is based on an assessment of patent data relating to OS technologies issued during Q3'05 by the US, Japanese (JP) and European (EP) patent offices and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WO).

"Looking at the data for July-September 2005, we continue to see an increasing level of activity in organic semiconductor technology, with a total of 1,923 EP, US and WO patents and 1,553 JP patents published during the first nine and six months of 2005, respectively," says Barry Young, of SVP DisplaySearch.

The number of published and granted EP, US and WO organic semiconductor patents for Q3'05 was 732, up 20% quarter on quarter and 41% year on year. The total number of JP patents published in Q2'05 was 866, up 26% Q/Q and 27% Y/Y.

In total, 280 different assignees accounted for the 1,598 patents covered in the latest issue of the OSPA report. The top 11 assignees account for 40% of the granted and published EP, US and WO patents; the top 11 assignees account for 60% of published JP patents.

Detailed analysis of the data shows that 79 assignees accounted for 153 EP patents; 123 assignees accounted for 421 US patents; and 141 assignees accounted for 866 JP published patents.

The ranking of the top three companies registering the new OS patents remained the same between the second and third quarters of 2005 - Eastman Kodak, Samsung SDI and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory - but one notable change in Q3 was the arrival of Idemitsu Kosan in 4th place (from 9th place in the previous quarter).

Other companies remaining in the top 10 included E I Du Pont de Nemours, LG Electronics, Seiko Epson, Canon and Sanyo Electric. Both Fuji Photo Film and Koninklijke Philips Electronics moved up to take the 10th equal position.

The report also identified the key inventors of OS patents for the period 2003-2005: The inventor with the most organic LED patents is S Yamazaki (Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, Japan), for organic transistors the most prolific inventors are K Hirai (Minolta, Japan) follwed by W Fix (PolyIC, Germany).

For photovoltaics the top inventor is C Brabec (Konarka Technologies, US) and for organic memory devices it is S Pangrle (AMD, USA). For photovoltaics, the top eight inventors are all from Konarka Technologies and for organic memory patents, the top nine inventors are from AMD.

There are 8,846 individual inventors, with an average of 2.8 inventors per patent and the average inventor appears on 3.8 patents.

About the OSPA report

The Quarterly Organic Semiconductor Patent Analyst Report (OSPA) presents analysis of patents granted and published in the OS industry. OSPA analyses relevant OS patents that have been published in the previous quarter by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), European Patent Office (EPO) and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

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