Brisk filing of patent applications related to apparatus for manufacturing metal masks for Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) vapor deposition
High-definition capability for TVs, smartphones, and computers, etc. is one of the key technologies which gets the spotlight from consumers. In order to achieve high-definition, smartphones utilizing OLEDs are being released. In this regard, the most important apparatus required for manufacturing OLED displays is an apparatus for manufacturing metal masks which are used for OLED vapor deposition.
It can be seen that the filing of patent applications related to apparatus for manufacturing metal masks for OLED vapor deposition rapidly increased in 2020. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) reported that the number of patent application filings related to apparatus for manufacturing metal masks for OLED vapor deposition was 17 in 2017; however, the number increased to 36 cases in the third quarter of 2020, a 64% increase compared to the same period of the previous year.
<Status of patent application filings related to apparatus for manufacturing metal masks for OLED vapor deposition (from 2017 to September 2020)>
Major companies filed the most applications, taking 40.5% (49 cases) of all such cases filed in 2020, small and medium-sized businesses followed next at 24.8% (30 cases), foreign companies took 20.7% (25 cases), individuals shared 10.7% (13 cases) and universities/public research institutes took 3.3% (4 cases).
<Ratio by type of applicant (from 2017 to September 2020)>
In the case of major companies, in order to take the initiative in advance in the high-definition display market, they are speeding up the conversion of their businesses from liquid crystal displays (LCD) to the OLED displays, so it is anticipated that the number of these application filings will continue to further increase.
The number of applications filed by small and medium-sized businesses shows a growing trend, especially in the fields of mask clamping/tension units (20%), transfer units (23.3%) and methods of patterning masks (16.7%), all of which involve relatively easy technology development.
<Types of technology fields filed by small and medium-sized businesses (from 2017 to September 2020)>
Meanwhile, requests for accelerated examination, which makes obtaining a patent quicker, reached 10 cases by the third quarter of 2020, overtaking by two times the accumulated number of cases filed during the last 3 years (from 2017 to 2019). It is analyzed that recognition has spread that securing a patent right is an effective means of increasing a company’s value as well as for rapidly responding to disputes such as those involving patent infringements.
The director of the Electricity & Communications Examination Bureau of KIPO stated, “For technology independence in the field of metal masks for OLEDs, it is important to secure patent rights for core technologies in the early stage along with technology development for substitute materials such as resins and alloys, etc.”