LCD Patent War: Korea, Taiwan and Japan

Patents and all other forms of intellectual property (IP) will decide a lot of what will happen in most technology industries. This also will be the case for the LCD industry. The US, like in most things, was the pioneer of many LCD-related R&D and has about 24% of the world's LCD-related patents. But as we all know, the US is weak when it comes to transfering R&D results to actual manufacturing. Japan took the LCD idea and commercialized it in many forms. I fondly remember my first digital Casio watch. The sound it made when I pushed the buttons. Genious. Japan is known for its ability to reduce cost and manufacture high quality products and in doing so has 9% of the world's LCD-related patents. Then came South Korea with cheaper labor and a zealous desire to compete against Japan and win. They did just that in the LCD industry. With Samsung and LG.Philips LCD (LPL) the top two LCD suppliers in the world, Korea has 62% of the world's LCD patents. According to The Financial News, LPL applied for 1384 LCD patents in the past five years while Samsung had 990 applications. Compare these numbers to Sharp's 460 patents during the same time frame and it's not too difficult to figure out who will be the winners and the followers in the LCD industry in the years to come. Up and coming are the Taiwanese with 5% and the EU with 0.3%.

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