25/11/2016

Organic semiconductor leaders strengthen IP position

The European Patent Office (EPO) has granted a new patent to semiconductor pioneer SmartKem.

SmartKem is the leader in organic semiconductors for flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. SmartKem’s world-class semiconductors enable the creation of thin film transistors (TFTs) on plastic. This allows the manufacture of truly flexible displays: screens that can bend, fold and operate at low power to serve end markets including smartphones, wearables and embedded and large area displays.

The new patent is for SmartKem’s unique semiconductor platform and enhances the company’s wide-ranging patent portfolio, which covers materials, processes and devices. It follows recent patent allowance for SmartKem’s semiconductor material in China - a key market for the rollout of its technology platform with display manufacturers across Asia.

EPO patent recognition is strategically important for SmartKem as it prevents the imitation of its baseline technology. It also consolidates the company’s position of strength as the global leader in the development of organic semiconductors for OLED displays. In addition, the patent provides added assurance to the market. EU scale-up partners recognize the adoption of SmartKem technology offers a compelling low risk route  for them to gain and sustain a long-term competitive advantage in the Asian display market.

SmartKem CEO Steve Kelly said: “We are delighted to once again have our pioneering technology protected in a key region. This EPO recognition follows six years of work in industrialising our semiconductor platform to offer industry grade TFT performance for the manufacture of AMOLED (active matrix OLED) on plastic.

“This patent further strengthens the ability of our partners and ourselves to swiftly scale up our European operations in order to serve the display industry supply chain in Asia. The patent is testament to the industry knowledge and diligence of the SmartKem team. We look forward to utilising this expertise further as we achieve the wide scale market adoption of SmartKem semiconductors.”

SmartKem is headquartered in St. Asaph, North Wales, and has a technology centre based in Hexagon Tower, Manchester, UK. Its superior patent portfolio is complemented by a number of joint development agreements with Asian display manufacturers. Together with its partners, SmartKem is making possible the low temperature, solution-coat manufacture of thin film transistors (TFTs) for the production of an exciting new generation of flexible OLED display based products.

Other recent developments for SmartKem include a new world record for the speed at which its truFLEX® technology works in transistor form. Significant EU grant funding and additional investment in personnel and equipment are also accelerating the scale-up of SmartKem material adoption.

Mr. Kelly added: “The global market for OLED, and particularly plastic and flexible OLED, is growing rapidly and is reliant on innovative technology. We remain focused on the industrialisation and commercialisation of our enabling semiconductor platform. This patent is further evidence of our commitment and suitability to drive innovation in this exciting industry.”