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  (Source: iClarified)
"In-cell" technology merges the LCD and touch panel into a single layer, providing some power and space savings

LG Electronics, Inc.'s (KSC:066570) own Android-based smartphone product line is finally seeing some legitimate global success, but the company's biggest success in the smartphone market actually comes from its display business. LG Display, the world's second largest display manufacturer, produces the "Retina" (IPS type) LCD displays found in all Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPads and iPhones, as well as some Android smartphones.

With Apple planning a major product launch for Sept. 12, which everyone is assuming will be the announcement of the iPhone 5 (the sixth generation iPhone), LG just announced that its latest and greatest display technology had hit mass production.

LG Display's latest innovation is to bake the capacitive touch sensors directly into the LCD layer; eliminating the need for a dual-layer two part display.  In the short term this approach will allow for minor space savings and some power savings, as well.  The downside is that the complexity of merging the two layers into a single layer means higher costs and decreased output.

Han Sang-beom, chief executive of LG Display, is quoted by Reuters, "We just began mass production and we don't expect any disruption in supplies."

In-Cell display tech
A comparison of in-cell display tech versus standard disply tech. [Image Source: Digitimes]

One thing that may help LG Display from a supply perspective is that overall flat panel demand has been weak this year.  Despite that weak demand, LG Display managed to grow its revenue by 14 percent on a year-to-year basis in Q2.  But due largely to a $175M USD settlement in a U.S. price-fixing lawsuit, LG Display still was hit with a 112.3B won ($99.2M USD) loss in Q2 2012 versus a 21B won ($18.6M USD) profit a year ago.  The price fixing lawsuit is actually not the first time LG has been implicated in criminal collusion; LG executives were actually sentenced to prison time back in 2009 for a similar conspiracy.

It's critical for LG to continue to grow and execute in the wake of its latest legal setbacks.

There is a small degree of uncertainty whether the new display will be destined for the iPhone 5, or whether Apple will horde stock of the display for a later model.  That uncertainty large stems from the fact that rival display manufacturer Sharp Corp. (TYO:6753) said earlier this month that it would be shipping displays used in a next generation iPhone.  Sharp is smaller than LG Display and uses a slightly different technology named "Advanced Super V" displays.  Sharp's latest displays are also incorporating in-cell technology.

LG Display
The new display tech is likely destined for the new iPhone. [Image Source: LG Display]

LG Display's biggest rival is Samsung Display, the world's largest display manufacturer and one of the only companies to have solved the riddle of the expensive and difficult AMOLED-based display process.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) Galaxy S III smartphone showcases a gorgeous 4.8-inch diagonal display, a major selling point.

The iPhone, long stuck with a small 3.5-inch display, is reportedly headed for an upgrade to a 4-inch diagonal unit (30 percent more surface area), in Apple's bid to keep up with Samsung.

Source: Reuters

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RE: And it begins
By geddarkstorm on 8/23/2012 1:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
The America Invents Act of 2011 was " signed into law by the president on Sept. 16, 2011". Read more about it here

Traditionally, the U.S. patent system has awarded patents to the first person to invent a new discovery. The AIA changes this long-settled approach. Although the AIA is labeled as a 'first-inventor-to-file' system, that label is a smokescreen. Under the AIA, the patent will be awarded to the person who is first to file a patent application, regardless of whether the applicant was the actual first inventor of the technology in question. In fact, the AIA removes from the 'conditions of patentability' of Section 102 of the Patent Act (and thereby from the conditions of patent validity) the requirement that the named inventor actually invented the claimed subject matter.

RE: And it begins
By daveinternets on 8/23/2012 2:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
Great article. Not sure what it has to do with the comment you are replying to, but anyway, the law doesn't go into effect until March 16th, 2013...

(n) EFFECTIVE DATE.— (1) IN GENERAL.—Except as otherwise provided in this section, the amendments made by this section shall take effect upon the expiration of the 18-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply to...

Not like the US Patent and Trade Office has anything to do with patents anyway, right? I'm sure some random website named 'courthousenews' is right, not the actual governing body.

RE: And it begins
By geddarkstorm on 8/23/2012 2:24:01 PM , Rating: 1
See my reply below. And you did notice in your own link that many of the provisions of the act, changing several key sections of patent law, went into effect September 2011, right?

RE: And it begins
By DNAgent on 8/23/2012 3:43:05 PM , Rating: 4
Hi. I'm a patent attorney. While the AIA may have been signed in to law in 2011, the relevant provision discussed above (First Inventor to File) does NOT go into effect until the USPTO publishes the final rule implementing that law. That rule is slated for for Feb. 16, 2013, as you can see from this image on their website.

First Inventor to File is NOT responsible for any of the current legal fracas...and you, sir, are a troll.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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