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27 November 2019

Seoul Semiconductor auctioning technology patent portfolios for 5G network design and smartphone cameras

South Korean LED maker Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd is to auction its radio frequency (RF) semiconductor patent portfolio and its high-power LED package patent portfolio.

In the first auction, Seoul Semiconductor is seeking the top bidder for 98 patent assets related to power amplifiers and gallium nitride (GaN) RF semiconductors, including 55 US patents. Three of the patents are licensed to the US Air Force or the US Army.

The firm says that this RF patent portfolio is the result of an investment of more than $100m in R&D by Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETi), which was founded in 1999 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in New York but was acquired by Seoul Semiconductor affiliate Seoul Viosys in 2015. SETi is now focused on UV LED technologies.

Since GaN has a wider bandgap than silicon, it can sustain higher voltages and is able to carry current through the device faster, so it is becoming the technology of choice for mobile and satellite communications, radar, wireless charging and autonomous driving.

With 5G implementation coming soon, the GaN RF market is developing fast. The GaN RF market will grow to $2bn by 2024 according to Yole Développement, and the global RF components market will reach $45bn by 2025. Sumitomo Chemical Co, Cree Inc and Qorvo Inc hold a large share of the GaN RF market.

In the second auction, Seoul Semiconductor will auction more than 100 patents, including US, European, Chinese, Japanese and Korean patents related to high-power LED packages and adaptive lighting. High-power LED packages are used in smartphone and automotive applications. Adaptive lighting is used in smartphone camera lenses and flash-lights and automotive headlights. In addition, these are some of the essential patents for high-power LED chips enabling thin and small design of lenses and flash-lights to respond to market demands for diverse functions of smartphone camera.

“Seoul Semiconductor is now looking for potential buyers or licensing partners for certain of these technologies,” say Seoul Semiconductor’s founder Chung Hoon Lee and SETi’s CEO Chae Hon Kim. “It can be a good opportunity for startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), who have difficulty in holding key patents, to expand their business,” they believe.

“Meanwhile, some large companies have negatively affected the LED industry by having unlawful access to our trade secrets by soliciting employees or preferring low-cost products that ignore intellectual property rights,” they add. “As a part of our new patent management strategy, we will sell some of our patents to companies that do not compete directly, and will invest the profits from the auction to develop new technologies in the future.”

The auction process is being handled by GoodIP, the digital licensing platform that helps tech companies and research centers identify licensing partners for their intellectual property.

Tags: Seoul Semiconductor LEDs

Visit: www.goodip.io

Visit: www.SeoulSemicon.com

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