Seoul Semiconductor Launches Auctions for Key Technology Patent Portfolios for 5G Network Design and Smartphone Cameras

November 26, 2019 [addtoany]

ANSAN, SOUTH KOREA (November 26, 2019) Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (KOSDAQ 046890), a leading global innovator of LED products and technology, announced that it will 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 U.S. patents. Three of the patents are licensed to the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army, confirming the value of the portfolio.

This RF patent portfolio is the result of an investment of more than $100 million in R&D by Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SETi), which was founded in 1999 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in New York. SETi, which was completely acquired by Seoul Viosys in 2015, one of the affiliates of Seoul Semiconductor, was at the forefront of GaNdevice development for high power RF and UV LED technologies. SETi is now focused on UV LED technologies, thus its GaN RF patent portfolio is being auctioned.

GaN has a wider bandgap than silicon, which means it can sustain higher voltages than silicon, and is able to carry current through the device faster. GaN 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 USD 2 billion by 2024 (Yole Développement, 2019) and the global radio frequency components market size is expected to reach USD 45 billion by 2025 (published in Market Research Report, 2019). The companies 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. We believe that 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,” said Seoul Semiconductor’s founder Chung Hoon Lee and SETi’s chief executive officer Chae Hon Kim.

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. 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,” added Lee and Kim.

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.