Development of LGs Flexible AMOLED Technology from its Patent Portfolios



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LG's initial development of flexible AMOLED displays focused on the use of metal-foil substrates as evidenced by its 3.5-inch flexible AMOLED display launched in 2007, although it was only a pilot product. After showcasing its first flexible EPD (E-Paper Display) with a plastic substrate in 2012, LG unveiled its first plastic substrate-based flexible AMOLED display on SID in 2013, which became the prototype of LG's mass produced flexible AMOLED displays.

With these technological competencies, LG has become an exclusive panel supplier for the first-generation Apple Watch. Since LG is a key panel supplier for Apple, the company's display technology developments have created significant market interest. This report analyzes LG's flexible display patents and its recent flexible AMOLED display developments to unveil its AMOLED development focuses and mass production plans.

Table of Contents

1. Commercialization of LG's Flexible AMOLED Products 4

1.1 POLED Resolution Crossing High-end Smartphone Entry Barriers 4
1.2 World's First Circular POLED Display Ready for Mass Production 5

2. LG's Flexible AMOLED Patents 6
2.1 Sharp Rise in Patent Applications for Flexible Displays Since 2012 6
2.2 Surge in Number of Flexible Display Patent Applications Filed by LG's Top Ten Inventors between 2013 and 2014 7
2.3 Increased R&D Workforce for Flexible Displays 8
2.4 Patent Applications Concentrated in Two Classes 8

3. LG's Flexible AMOLED Technologies in Top Two Patent Classes 10
3.1 Class 257/040: Organic Semiconductor Material 10
3.2 Class 345/173: Touch Panel 11
Conclusion 13

Appendix 14
Patent Search Criteria 14
Glossary of Terms 15
List of Companies 16

Table 1: Claimed Functions of Patent Applications in Class 257/040 10

Figure 1: LG's Smartphones with Flexible Displays 4
Figure 2: Moto 360 vs. LG Watch Urbane 5
Figure 3: Number of LG's Patent Applications for Flexible Displays 6
Figure 4: Number of Flexible Display Patent Applications Filed by LG's Top Ten Inventors 7
Figure 5: Flexible Display Patent Applications Filed by LG's Top 20 Inventors by Year of Application 8
Figure 6: Patent Classes for LG's Top 20 Flexible Display Technologies by Year of Application 9
Figure 7: Top 2 Patent Classes of LG's Applications Filed between 2013 and 2014 9
Figure 8: Function Description in Class 345/173 (Application No. US20140002401A1) 12
Figure 9: LG's Rollable Display 12