News from Taiwan: ITRI, Tyntek and Formosa

ITRI is to release LED patents to Taiwanese LED makers, Tyntek and ITRI are developing AC-LEDs for panel backlighting, and Formosa Epitaxy is to form a joint venture for high-luminance LEDs.

ITRI to release LED patents to Taiwanese LED makers

Taiwan's government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) plans to release 15 patents for red and blue LEDs through an open bid scheduled for March 7, 2006, according to the DigiTimes website.

ITRI's intention is to help Taiwan-based LED companies become more competitive without violating the intellectual property rights of other LED vendors.

The bid is open to optoelectronics companies with more than NT$200 million (US$ 6 million) in capital, and the bid winners will own the patent licenses until they expire.

Due various patent issues, notably with Japan-based Nichia, as well as dramatic drops in the price of higher-luminance LEDs, Taiwan LED makers experienced slow growth during 2005.

Even so, ITRI's Opto-Electronics & Systems (OES) Laboratories says that Taiwan’s LED industry had a production output of US$1.45 billion in 2005, up 20% year-on-year. OES estimates that Taiwan ranked second in global LED production during 2005, with a 24% share, with Japan taking 50% of the market.

Tyntek to co-develop AC LEDs for panel backlighting

Taiwan-based LED maker Tyntek is to team up with ITRI to develop and produce alternating current (AC) LEDs, according to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News.

The collaboration with ITRI is scheduled to last for 2 years, with mass production slated to commence when the contract finishes at the end of 2007.

The AC-LEDs are likely to be used in LCD panel backlights for large-size TFT LCDs, seven-inch LCDs and handset LCD displays, as well as industrial-use indicator lights and outdoors lighting segments.

Tyntek said that AC-LEDs would not require a special power supply for use in outdoor applications, and could also help to lower packaging costs due to their compact size. The devices are expected to result in improved luminance while providing ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection.

Formosa Epitaxy to form joint venture for high-luminance LED packaging

Formosa Epitaxy, a Taiwan-based LED chip maker, plans to form a joint venture company with unspecified Japanese companies that will initially target the high-luminance LED packaging segment for automotive applications, handset camera flashes, and LCD display backlights, according to an article on DigiTimes.

Formosa Epitaxy will hold a 15% stake in the new company, which will commence trial production of high-luminance LEDs by April 2006. The monthly capacity will be three million units initially, expanding to 15-20 million units by the end of 2006.

Charles Wei, spokesperson for the company, stated that Taiwan's LED industry will experience further consolidation in 2006 as companies seek to achieve greater financial muscle, accelerate production integration and become more competitive.

Wei believes that the high-luminance LED segment will drive the performance of Taiwan's LED industry upwards in 2006 when the adoption of these devices will spread into the handset-panel backlights, seven-inch LCD-panel backlights, and car-use applications.

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