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VCSEL – Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser - Patent Landscape Analysis

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couv VCSEL Patent Landscape 2018 VF Yole PowerPoint

3D sensing in the Apple iPhone X paves the way for new VCSEL opportunities. How is the VCSEL-related patent landscape impacted by the rise of new applications?


The release of the Apple iPhone X in 2017 and its range of optical sensors triggered new opportunities for VCSEL players to address a high-volume market. Apple’s competitors are now developing 3D sensing functions as well. However, the consumer industry is just the starting point for this new VCSEL area. Indeed, the rise of autonomous and robotic vehicles as well as medical imaging and gas sensing offer a wide range of high-volume applications that could drive the growth and development of VCSEL technology and the related market. Propelled by these new applications, the VCSEL market will enjoy a 48% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2023 and reach more than $3.5B, according to Yole Développement.

At the beginning of this new era, understanding the Intellectual Property (IP) position and strategy of historical VCSEL IP players as well as identifying the IP newcomers and the threat they represent is crucial. In this report, Knowmade has thoroughly investigated the patent landscape related to VCSELs, VCSEL arrays and Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSELs). Our patent landscape analysis shows significant changes in the VCSEL competitive landscape.

VCSEL-related patent activity began in the late 1980s amongst US and European datacom players like Motorola, Finisar, Broadcom and NEC. Since 2010, decreasing IP activity related to datacom and laser printing has been balanced by the emergence of new applications like LiDAR and 3D sensing. New applications like facial and gesture recognition, LiDAR and gas sensors and their promising market value have pushed many newcomers to enter the VCSEL-related IP landscape, including Apple, Heptagon/ams, Stanley Electric and LG Innotek. 3D sensing and LiDAR currently appear as the most attractive applications for main VCSEL IP players like Ricoh, Finisar, Sony, Osram and Lumentum. This change in IP strategy heralds future shifts in the VCSEL-related market. Today, the IP landscape related to VCSELs for 3D sensing is young and unsettled. A race has just started between the strong historical VCSEL IP players coming from datacom or laser printing and the newcomers/specialized players like Philips and Trilumina that need to strengthen their IP position. Thus, VCSEL IP players are entering a phase where M&A, litigation or IP acquisitions will be key.

time evolution of patent publications for main VCSEL applications KnowMade yole oct2018 



In this report, Knowmade has selected and thoroughly investigated the >4,200 inventions related to VCSEL manufacturing and applications that have been published worldwide. These patents were filed by more than 900 different patent applicants.

This report also provides a deep analysis of patents related to promising technologies and main players’ IP portfolios.

scope VCSEL KnowMade Yole oct2018



  • Identifying the newcomers and evaluating their portfolios’ strengths and weaknesses
    In this report, Knowmade discusses the more than 50 newcomers that have entered the VCSEL IP landscape in the last seven years. Most relevant newcomer IP profiles are analyzed within, based on their market position, portfolio size, and IP activity growth.
  • Understanding the key players’ patented technologies and current IP strategies
    More than 900 patent applicants are involved in the VCSEL IP patent landscape. This report reveals the IP position of key players through a detailed analysis of their patent portfolios. We also provide an understanding of these players’ patented technologies, their IP strategy, and their capability to limit other firms’ patenting activity and freedom-to-operate. Moreover, we discuss the relative strength of the top patent owners as derived from their patent portfolios size, prior-art contribution, geographic coverage, and IP blocking potential, highlighting their most valuable patents.
  • Analyzing IP players’ position on promising applications and their main inventions
    This report provides an understanding of IP players’ positions on promising applications. Main IP players and key patents are presented for each segment, along with an understanding of the current technical challenges addressed in the patents.
  • Identifying and understanding key patents related to VCSEL manufacturing
    This report provides a detailed analysis of key patents rated as seminal, blocking and/or promising related to VCSEL manufacturing. Furthermore, patents related to yield improvement and eye safety have also been identified and analyzed in order to understand the actual solutions to answer these technical challenges.



This report also includes an Excel database with the >10,500 patents and patent applications analyzed in this study. This useful patent database allows for multi-criteria searches and includes patent publication numbers, hyperlinks to the original documents, priority date, title, abstract, patent assignees, patent’s current legal status, and technological and application segments.


main IP plyers involved in VCSEL landscape Knowmade Yole oct2018


Table of contents

Introduction 5

> VCSEL definition
> Market datat


Methodology 10

> Scope of the report
> Key feature of the report
> Main assignees citing in the report
> Objectives of the report
> Patent search, selection and analysis
> Search equations
> Mergers and acquisitions
> Terminologies for patent analysis


Technology overview 21

> 3D integration memory
> Memory types
> 3D NVM roadmap


IP landscape overview 24

> Time evolution of patent publications
> Main patent assignees
> World mapping of patent applications
> Publication countries of main patent assignees
> Legal status of patents of main IP players
> Time evolution of patent assignees
> Time evolution of patent publications/ applications
> Main patents assignees/applications


Position of main IP players 39

> Methodology and segment overview
> Segment analysis and position of main IP players
> IP leadership
> Blocking potential
> Reinforcement potential
> IP strength index
> IP vs market positions matrix








IP profiles of key players 50

> Ricoh
> Canon
> Seiko Epson
> Fuji Xerox
> Finisar
> Broadcom
> Sony
> Philips
> Lumemtum
> Osram
> ams
> Trilumina


Key patents 97

> Yield enhancement
> Eye safety


Patent involved in litigation 133



Granted patents near expiration 141



Conclusion 155



KnowMade presentation 158
























About the authors

Knowmade is a Patent, Technology and Strategy consulting company involved in Microelectronics, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

We provide Patent Search, Patent Landscape, Patent Analysis, Scientific Landscape, State of the Art, Technology Scouting, Technology Tracking, Alerts and Updates.

Our service offer consists of standard reports, custom studies & on-demand tracking, strategy consulting and training.

We combine information search services, scientific expertise, powerful analytics and visualization tools, and proprietary methodologies for analyzing patents and scientific information.

Knowmade supports research laboratories, industrial companies and investors in their business development. 
















































  • IP trends, including time-evolution of published patents, and countries of patent filings
  • Patents’ current legal status
  • Ranking of main patent assignees
  • Promising applications IP analysis: Datacom, Laser printing, Display, Laser mice, Gas sensors, Atomic clocks, Medical imaging, Automotive, Consumer, etc.
  • Key patents and granted patents nearing expiration
  • Key players’ IP position and relative strength of their patent portfolios
  • Key players’ IP profiles: Ricoh, Canon, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Finisar, Broadcom, Sony, Philips, Lumentum, Osram, ams, Trilumina
  • Excel database containing all patents analyzed in the report, including technology segmentation