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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

Market Now

Samsung to boost patent leadership with ‘Ironflex’ trademark for foldable displays

  • PUBLISHED :January 08, 2024 - 09:30
  • UPDATED :January 08, 2024 - 09:30
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Samsung Display's "Flex In & Out Flip" foldable display, which can be folded both inward and outward (Samsung Display)

Samsung Display has recently registered the "Ironflex" trademark for its next foldable display technology, according to a filing with the US patent agency and industry sources, Sunday.

The filing said that the Korean display maker submitted the filing to the US Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 3 and was waiting for the agency’s review. Similar filings are also found to have been made in South Korea and the UK.

The Ironflex trademark consists of standard characters without claim to any particular font style, size or color. In the filing, Samsung requested its use for a range of gadgets using foldable displays, including smartphones, monitors and tablet PCs. The company has used “Flex” for its foldable or slidable display products.

“The ‘iron’ in the trademark hints at upgraded durability, like folding phones almost free from creases, among other (upgrades),” an industry source close to the matter told The Korea Herald.

“Amid fierce competition, companies are moving promptly to secure more patents than their rivals, even though their products may come out three or four years later.”

The new trademark filing comes as Samsung Display is ramping up research and development efforts to widen the gap with smaller rivals in the burgeoning foldable display market.

The company has already secured unrivaled competitiveness when it comes to patent filings.

Samsung Display files the trademark "Ironflex" for its foldable display panels at the US Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday. (USPTO)

Number of patents owned by global display makers in the US. (Wert Intelligence)

According to Wert Intelligence, an intellectual property market tracker, Samsung Display has secured 1,840 patents on foldable displays alone in the US, about four times more than the 481 patents secured by China’s BOE and the 469 patents of crosstown rival LG Display.

Wert predicted that Samsung would further consolidate its leadership in the coming years, citing its “versatile” patent portfolio ranging from a folding structure mechanism and display piling methods to materials and user interface.

“The market for foldable displays is expected to be expanded as more diversified foldable devices are being rolled out,” said Song Wan-gam, a big data analysis team leader of Wert Intelligence. “Securing more patents will become crucial for display makers to stay competitive.”

Samsung Display has retained its top spot in the foldable OLED panel market for years, buoyed by upbeat sales of foldable smartphones by its sibling, Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker with an almost 75 percent market share in foldable phones.

In 2023, it boasted a 65.5 percent market share, followed by BOE’s 25.1 percent share and TCL CSOT’s 5.1 percent share, according to market tracker Omdia.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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