LED Phosphor Intellectual Property (IP)
LED Phosphors and Down-Converters Patent Investigation
Phosphor related intellectual property has been and remains a major driving force with strong impact on the shape of the LED industry.
LED phosphor IP is shaping the industry
The first commercial GaN-based blue LEDs were produced in Japan in the mid 90’s after researchers Shuji Nakamura at Nichia and Professor Akasaki at Nagoya University (IP assigned to Toyoda Gosei) succeeded in removing some of the major remaining roadblocks associated with this technology (p-doping, epitaxy quality…).
Quickly leveraging on this success, some fundamental patents describing the use of a blue LED combined with a phosphor to produce white LEDs were filed by Nichia, Osram, ATMI and others. Those fundamental patents were rapidly followed by a fast growing number of applications through 2005 as an increasing number of companies started to compete in the LED market and new applications in cell phone, laptop and LCD TV display, and general lighting were being addressed.
Phosphor IP is a major force in the LED industry. With more than 40 litigation cases, it is also used as leverage by companies which have negotiated close to 70 licensing and supply agreements to date. It can also be argued that in the first half of the 2000 decade, the strict enforcement and lack of license grants for some fundamental IP related to the design and manufacturing of white LEDs might also have slowed down the progress of the industry by preventing more efficient competition that would allow prices to decrease.
The report identifies the key players with the most relevant IP. It provides an overview, of phosphor related IP litigation and licensing, that has shaped the industry since the mid 90s, as well as a detailed analysis for the major players involved.
A vast number of relevant patents
Our search strategy combines automated and manual screenings that have led to the selection of more than 4,500 relevant patent families. Those have been segmented by type (composition patent or phosphor configuration patents) and organized in various technology segments that are analyzed in detail: garnets, silicates, nitrides and oxynitrides, quantum dots. The report also includes a special focus on the emerging LED phosphor IP in China.
For each segment, the report provides a detailed analysis including the time evolution of patent filings, identification of the key players, collaborations and citation networks, as well as the identification of the key patents based-on citation and impacts in litigations.
The report also includes a companion excel database with all patents of the company profiled in the report. This database includes abstracts and hyperlinks to the original documents and allows multi-criteria searches (patent publication number, priority date, title, applicants, technological segments…)
The key players identified
Hundreds of companies are involved in LED phosphor IP. Most of the major LED players are present in the list of the top patent assignees. But independent phosphor manufacturers like Intematix or Mitsubishi that are offering their phosphors on the open market are also emerging as major forces in the IP landscape.
Leading Taiwan based packagers are notably absent from this ranking. This weak position explains the large number of litigations and one way, royalty or supply based license agreements involving those companies.
The report provides an analysis and ranking of the relative strength of the top Led phosphor IP holders derived from their portfolio size, patent citations networks, number of family etc…
Based on this portfolio analysis as well as on their litigation and licensing history, we have identified 15 major players that are profiled in this report. Each profile includes a detailed portfolio analysis with the time evolution of patent filing by segment as well as a list of key patents, citations, collaborations, litigations and licensing.
Composition focus shifting from yellow to red and green phosphors
With high performing silicates now widely available as a YAG substitutes for yellow emission, the focus on new composition development and patent protection has mostly shifted toward red and green converters. The market for those new phosphors and some of themost critical IP are currently dominated by Mitsubishi and Denka, which have acquired nitrides and oxynitrides licenses from NIMS. However, many other players are also developing nitride and oxynitride compositions, including Intematix, Beijing Yuji and Lightscape (now dow electronic materials). New material families are also considered as promising phosphors including Tungstate and Molybdates as well as Fluorides championed by GE.
Following recent progress in thermal stability and manufacturability, quantum dot are also finally emerging as a credible option. Because of their narrow emission bands, LCD display is the most promising application for the technology. In lighting, the use of red QD in combination with standard phosphor could emerge in remote phosphor applications.
Objectives of the report
This report provides a detailed picture of the patent landscape for LED phosphors and other downconverters like quantum dots.
Understand who owns what.
Identify key patents by composition or assignees.
Understand trends in phosphor composition IP.
Identify the major players in LED phosphor IP and the relative strength of their portfolio.
Identify collaboration networks between key players (industrial and academics).
Emerging IP from China.
Overview of past and current litigations, licensing agreements.
Overview of essential market data and forecast for LED Phosphors.
Key features of the report
LED phosphors market data and forecasts
Analysis of technology key segments and key players
Special focus on key families and configurations:
(Oxy)nitrides and carbidonitrides
Overview of patent litigation and licensing
“Phosphor IP” profiles of the main companies with key patents, compositions, configurations, strategy, litigations, licensing and partnerships
Excel database with all patents of the company profiled in the report
Companies cited in the report (Non exhaustive list)
Advanced Optoelectronic Technology (AOT), Advanced Technilgy Material Inc (ATMI), Agilent Technologies, AgiLight, Asahi, ASP Inc, Aurora Energie, Avago, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing Yuji, Bright LED, CCS, Changchun Institute Of Applied Chemistry, Changchun University, Changchun University, Changshu Institute of Technology, Changshu Yatai Fluorescent Material, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chimei Corporation, China Glaze, China Glaze, China Jiliang University...
(complete list in the report)
KnowMade is specialized in analysis of patents and scientific information. We provide patent search, IP landscape, patent valuation, IP due diligence, scientific literature landscape, identification of technologies available for transfer/licensing/ sale, alerts and updates. Our service offer consists of custom studies, analysis reports, on-demand tracking and strategy consulting. Knowmade combines information search services, scientific expertise, powerful analytics and visualization tools, and proprietary methodologies for analyzing patents and scientific information. With a solid focus on Microelectronics, Nanotechnology and Biotechnology, KnowMade supports research laboratories, industrial companies and investors in their business development.
The authors 9
Scope of the report 10
What’s in the report / What’s not 11
Terminologies for patent analysis 13
Search strategy and patent screening 17
Technological segmentation 19
Different types of phosphor converted LED 20
Executive Summary 24
LED phosphor market forecast
How phosphor patents shaped the industry
Phosphor related license agreements
Litigations plaintiffs and defendants
Litigations by patent families
Time evolution of patent filing
Main patent assignees ranking
Strength of main assignee portfolio
Portfolio strength and revenue
Geographic breakdown of patent filings
Nichia patent invalidation attempts
Analysis of technology segments (silicates, garnets, nitrides, QD)
Main patent assignees
Major reference patents
Overview of the LED industry 64
LED market segments
History of the LED industry
Packaged LED revenue forecast by application
Packaged LED volume forecast by application
LED penetration rates - Comparison 2012 vs. 2020
LED phosphor market overview 71
Phosphors for LEDs: How to make white light?
Major LED phosphor materials
LED phosphor materials trends
LED phosphor industry landscape
Market quantifications: Methodology / challenges / Key hypothesis / Scenario #1: No remote phosphors / Remote phosphors hypothesis / Scenario #2: Volumes with remote phosphors / Revenue / Captive and open market
IP Landscape overview 89
Time evolution of patent filing
Example of fundamental phosphor patents
Geographic breakdown of patent filing: Phosphor materials & LED with WL conversion
Time evolution by country of filing: Phosphor material & LED with WL conversion
Time evolution by country of publication: Phosphor material & LED with WL conversion
Legal status breakdown
Main IPC classes: Phosphor materials & LED with WL conversion
Main patent assignees ranking
Time evolution of top 15 patent assignees: Phosphor materials & LED with WL conversion
Country of filing for top 15 patent assignees: Phosphor materials & LED with WL conversion
Main academic patent assignees
Patent assignees IP network: Phosphor materials
Patent assignee network: LED with WL conversion
Summary of main assignee portfolio: Phosphor Materials & LED with WL conversion - Analysis
Strength of Main Assignee Portfolio: Phosphor Materials & LED with WL conversion - Analysis
Main patent assignees: Patent portfolio comparison
Other patent assignees
Patent assignee IP network
Litigation and licensing landscape 198
Overview and history
Overview of phosphor related license agreements
Main litigations, plaintiffs and defendants
Litigation by patent families
Patent families involved in litigation by priority date
Focus on key players 211
For all of them : Portfolio analysis, key patents, citations & collaborations, litigations and licenses, and additional info regarding Nichia key patent invalidation attempts, licensing revenue and general approach to IP
Denka (Denki Kagaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha) 217
General Electric / Gelcore (Lumination) / GE Lighting 220