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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 Argon18 on 8/23/2012 2:52:15 PM , Rating: 4
Too true. It's a vile disgusting piece of legislation signed into law by Obama. It turned the already laughable patent system in a three ring circus.

RE: And it begins
By Theoz on 8/23/2012 3:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Please point to which provisions turned the patent system into a "three ring circus." The rest of the world has been on first-to-file forever, so I think their experience should prove that first-to-file won't turn the world upside down.

RE: And it begins
By geddarkstorm on 8/23/2012 3:38:12 PM , Rating: 3
We can look at Canada's experience when they switched in 1989 to FTF. It was found to have a detrimental effect and none of the beneficial effects that were expected; skewing patent holding towards large corporations and away from inventors; according to this paper.

Nor is this the first time these issues have been discussed for the US

If we really want to understand what goes on with the different patent systems, we'd have to look at the data for other countries and cross that information with who is FTF vs FTI, and who applies for applications primarily in the US first before applying elsewhere. Realize, that applying for patents in the US first is currently a common strategy for securing ownership of patents that are to latter be applied for in other countries; due to the our FTI hybrid system we have previously enjoyed. Unfortunately, that also makes data mining this subject difficult.

Finally, the percentage of the number of patent litigation cases versus patents granted world wide has grown. Germany has doubled in ten years in the amount of cases, so that might be an interesting place to start.

RE: And it begins
By Theoz on 8/23/2012 3:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
From the first articles abstract:
A switch to a first-to-file patent regime from its first-to-invent system has become imminent for the U.S. To learn about probable effects of such a policy change, we examine a similar switch that occurred in Canada in 1989. We find that the switch failed to stimulate Canadian R&D efforts. Nor did it have any effects on overall patenting. However, the reforms had a small adverse effect on domestic-oriented industries and skewed the ownership structure of patented inventions towards large corporations, away from independent inventors and small businesses. These findings challenge the merits of adopting a first-to-file patent regime.

Failing to deliver on the promises of its proponents is not the same as creating a "three ring circus" or "unleashing insanity." I never said that it was perfect, my point is merely that the rest of the world has been just fine overall with first to file and the US will be too.

RE: And it begins
By geddarkstorm on 8/23/2012 3:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Three ring circus" or "unleashing insanity" are subjective statements, as is "just fine". Fine compared to what? Not compared to the being phased out US system; which wasn't even that "fine" to begin with.

You are free to contest subjective statements all you want. But objectively, FTF is inferior to FTI from what we've seen so far. Therefore, people have backing for their subjective statements as we watch all these patent cases ramping up more each year -- also an objective data point.

And again, companies like to file in the US first to take advantage of our old system, rather than file in "the rest of the world" first. So what does that tell you? When that is no longer available to them, then the effects of FTF in other countries will become more apparent as well. To what degree, is hard to say until we see it happen.

RE: And it begins
By Theoz on 8/23/2012 4:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
And again, companies like to file in the US first to take advantage of our old system, rather than file in "the rest of the world" first. So what does that tell you? When that is no longer available to them, then the effects of FTF in other countries will become more apparent as well. To what degree, is hard to say until we see it happen.

This comment is ridiculous. Just because the US is first to invent doesn't mean that if you file first in the US and use that US application to enter into Europe that the European laws are suddenly now first to invent. Only the US application would be subject to first to invent. Prior art in your European application would be assessed based on the filing date of that first US application, not the invention date.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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