Universal Display Mines for Opportunities in Fujifilm OLED Patents

In a move to beef up its opportunities, Universal Display Corp. (NASDAQ: PANL) in Ewing, NJ plunked down $105 million last week to grab more than 1,200 patents and patent applications for organic LED technology from Fujifilm.

Organic LED—OLED for short—is a technology used to create new types of light sources as well as ultrathin electronic displays for mobile devices and televisions. The addition of this patent portfolio gives Universal Display, which develops and supplies OLED material and technology, a deeper well to draw from.

The company’s technology is licensed by Samsung and other manufacturers. The addition of the Fujifilm OLED patents nearly doubles Universal Display’s portfolio and should help expand its licensing and materials businesses, says Janice Mahon, vice president of technology commercialization. “We decided it was a great strategic play for us was to acquire [Fujifilm’s] portfolio,” Mahon says.

OLEDs can be used to design thinner electronic screens compared with LED and LCD technology. In spite of the prospects for this innovation, thus far the screen sizes of OLED devices have been relatively small. Smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S line use the technology, with larger screens in development. Manufacturers Samsung and LG Electronics both plan to release 55-inch OLED televisions sometime this year. The LG OLED television boasts a screen that is 4 millimeters thin at its narrowest edge.

Future uses of OLED material could include thin, flexible electronic displays mounted as visors in soldiers’ helmets. Light panels made with OLEDs could lay flat against … Next Page »

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