Monday, November 01, 2004

Expiration of Kodak patents changing OLED landscape

The article in electronic business online mentions the basic patents of Kodak in organic light-emitting diodes, the work of Cambridge Display Technology, but does not mention the Bayh-Dole work developed through Princeton's Center for Photonic and Optoelectronic Materials (POEM) lab and Universal Display.

Princeton's efforts in the Bayh-Dole area were highlighted in the Trenton Times, p. B1, November 1, 2004, in an article "Putting pieces into place," by Andrew D. Smith. The article also mentioned the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials. (PRISM)

from electronic business:

-->Competition is driven in part by the fact that the original patents protecting OLED IP are beginning to expire, opening the door to manufacturing without costly license fees. This has caused Kodak, which has one of the strongest OLED IP portfolios, to pursue more than a licensing revenue model. "With Kodak's fundamental patents starting to expire, the playing field will be wide open, with no more constraints," says Allen.

OLED displays have significant advantages over LCDs. OLEDs are made by placing organic film between two conductors. Electrical current is applied, causing emission of a bright light. Unlike the more widely used LCDs, OLED displays do not require backlighting. This means that an OLED panel is thinner than an LCD panel, requires less power, and weighs less. They're more durable and operate effectively in a broader range of temperatures. <--

It's interesting to note that Sculley of Kodak brought up the issue of most cited patents in the OLED area:

-->Although the technology has been around since the mid-1980s, OLEDs have taken time to gain traction, because the manufacturing process is difficult, especially for active-matrix OLEDs. Andrew Sculley, general manager of the display and components group at Kodak, believes that companies such as Sony, one of Kodak's many licensees, only recently began to get cost-effective yields of active-matrix OLEDs.

According to Allen, 13 of the 20 most cited OLED patents are Kodak's, and 2 have already expired. Sculley says Kodak's most important patents won't begin to expire until 2007. The IP licensing model remains intact, he says. But seeing the handwriting on the wall, Kodak began a manufacturing joint venture with Sanyo in 2001. The partners make active-matrix OLED displays, some of which are already in consumer products.<--

CHI research has asserted that the value of a patent can be measured by the number of times the patent is cited. This assertion has been questioned by a number of workers, including Nancy Lambert and Edlyn Simmons.


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