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Nanowire LED Patent Investigation

yole led partnerships may 2014
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Yole Nanowire LED May 2014 IconeFlyerNew nan
owire LED startups compete with Asian LED giants in the IP landscape

Nanowire L
ED: After 10 years of patenting activity, what's the current patent situation ?

Asian giants Samsung, Panasonic and LG are the top three patent assignees for Nanowire LED technology. Facing them are several startups including glō, Aledia and Ecospark, which between them have raised more than $150M - thus confirming their serious interest in this field. However, these newcomers face strong technological challenges.

Nanowire-based LEDs were first reported in the early 2000s by Harvard University (J. American Chemical Soc., 122, 1, 188-189) and National Taiwan Normal University (Adv. Mat., 12, 10, 738). The first patent was filed in 2002 by Postech Foundation for an axial PN junction architecture. Since then, companies have shown growing interest in nanowire-based LED for improved light extraction and thermal conduction.

Fundamental patents describing a nanowire-based axial LED were filed during the 2000s, with the most significant ones coming from Postech Foundation, Solidlite and LG. In the mid-2000s, Philips, Nanosys, LG and Seoul Opto Devices filed the first radial/core-shell nanowire LED patents. Current patented technologies reflect the improvements made in terms of material and junction architecture to achieve limited crystal defects and increased luminous efficiency.

KnowMade’s research covers global patents published through February 2014. Patents addressing the use of nanowires in LED applications have been selected, and an analysis of the patent holders and their patented technologies is provided. This report focuses exclusively on LED and does not include patents related to the fabrication of nanowires for other applications such as solar, detectors, or laser.

Yole LED TimelineOfPatent May 2014

Identify key players and discover new IP entrants (I.E Hon Hai precision industry)

More than 100 companies/academics are involved in Nanowire LED IP, and most of the major Nanowire LED players are slightly different from the major LED players. Samsung, LG and Panasonic have strong IP portfolios related to Nanowire LED, but glō, Ecospark, Hon Hai Precision Industry, Nanocrystal, Lextar Electronics and others are strong new entrants to the Nanowire LED IP landscape.

Taking into account their portfolio size, patent citations networks, countries of patents filings and current legal status of patents, this report provides a ranking and relative strength of the top Nanowire LED patent holders. Through thorough analysis we have identified six major players, each of which is profiled in this report. Each profile includes a detailed portfolio summary including patenting activity, patented technologies, key patents, granted patents near expiration, and partnerships.

Yole LED Partnerships May 2014

Refine your patent strategy with a deep patent segmentation and a useful patent database

Through a search strategy consisting of automated and manual screenings, we have been able to identify 300+ patent families. For this report, these families are manually segmented by relevance: patents describing LED applications (relevant patents), and patents describing not only LED applications but also other applications (solar, laser, detector etc.) or devices that use LED nanowires (related patents).

These 300+ patent families are also manually segmented by technology type: “Active Devices”, i.e. when the PN junction is comprised on the nanowire; and “Passive Devices”, i.e. when the nanowire is out of the PN junction (light extraction enhancement). 246 and 116 patent families are related to active and passive devices, respectively.

The dataset is also organized into various technology segments that are analyzed: deposition method, substrate type, active material, passive material and PN junction architecture. III-N and ZnO represent the biggest part of patents related to active and passive devices, respectively. Most patent applicants have filed axial PN junction architecture, but recently they have started turning toward radial PN junction.

More than 30 key patents have been identified based on several indicators, including family size, legal status, citations analysis and impact on Nanowire LED technology.

Our report also includes an Excel database containing all of the analyzed patents. This database allows for multi-criteria searches and includes patent publication number, hyperlinks to the original documents, priority date, title, abstract, patent assignees, technological segments and legal status for each member of the patent family.

Yole LED TechnologySegmentation May 2014

Table of contents

The authors 5
Report scope 6
Key features of the report 7
Report objectives 9
Glossary 10
Nanowire LED terminology 11
Terminology for patent analysis 12
Methodology 14
Patent search strategy 16
Executive summary 17
LED nanowire IP landscape overview 26
Active devices 27
> Segmentation by relevance
> Timeline of patent publications
> Country of patent filings
> Timeline by country of publication
> Current legal status of patents
> Main patent assignees ranking
> Timeline of patent assignees
> Country of publication for patent assignees
> Patent assignee IP network
> Granted patents nearing expiration
> Summary of assignee’s patent portfolios
> Mapping of current IP holders
> Impact of patent portfolios

Segmentation 42

> Technology segmentation
> Deposition method
> Substrate
> Active material
> PN junction
- Timeline of patent publication
- Country of patent filings
- Key patent families

Passive devices 65

> Segmentation by relevance
> Timeline of patent publications
> Country of patent filings
> Timeline by country of publication
> Current legal status of patents
> Main patent assignees ranking
> Timeline of patent assignees
> Country of publication for patent assignees
> Patent assignee IP network
> Granted patents nearing expiration
> Summary of assignee’s patent portfolios
> Impact of patent portfolios
> Mapping of current IP holders

Segmentation 78

> Technology segmentation
> Passive material

Summary of key players 82
> Includes patenting activity for active and passive devices, patented technologies, key patents, granted patents near expiration, and partnerships.
> Samsung
> Panasonic
> LG
> glō
> Seoul Opto Devices

Patent differentiation for device/material type 89

Patent update 90
Research activities 91
Publications 92
LED market and industry trends 94
> Introduction to High Brightness LEDs
> LED industry history
> Packaged LED revenue forecast by application
> Packaged LED price trends
> GaN deposition reactor capacity vs. demand
> Drivers for adoption of LED for general lighting - Upfront cost
> Cost structure of lighting products - Analysis > Cost structure of packaged LED – Roadmap

Nanowire LED technology overview 103

> Overview of LED Front-End
> Focus on GaN-on-Si LEDs
> Focus on Nanowire LEDs

Nanowire LEDs – key players 125

> Overview
> Partnerships
> Company profile – Aledia
> Company profile – glō
> Company profile – Nanocrystal
> Company profile – Ecospark
> Company profile – CrayoNano

Conclusions 133

Licensable technologies 137


Companies cited

Chonbuk National University
Delta Electronics
Dongguk University
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI)
General Electric
Gwangju Institute
Hanyang University
Hewlett Packard
Hokkaido University
Hongfujin Precision Industry
Hon Hai Precision Industry
Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
Inha University
Institute of Semiconductors (CAS)

Korea Institute
Korean Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT)
Kumoh National Institute Technology
Lite-On Technology
Lextar Electronics
Lund University
McGill University
National Chiao Tung University
National Science Foundation
Postech Foundation (Pohang University of Sciences and Technology)
Photonstar LED
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seoul Opto Devices
Seoul University
Shandong University
Sino American Silicon Products
Sophia School
Sungkyunkwan University
Sun Yat Sen University
Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO)
Suzhou Nanowin Science and Technology (Nanowin)
Tatwah Smartech
Tsinghua University
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)
University of California



  • Nanowire LED IP Landscape
  • Focus on key technology issues:
    - Deposition method
    - Substrate type
    - Active material type
    - PN junction type
    - Passive material type
  • Main patent applicants’ IP collaboration network
  • Matrix patent applicants/technology segments
  • Relative strength of key players’IP
  • Key patents, and currentpatents nearing expiration
  • Nanowire LED IP” profilesof six key players includingtheir patenting activity, key patents, patented technologies,partnerships, and patents nearing expiration
  • Excel database containing all patents analyzed in this report, and a technology segmentation
  • LED market and industry trends: data and forecasts
  • Nanowire LED – Pure-players and their roadmap