Apple's Sudden Push into Sapphire Manufacturing Sends Taiwanese Manufacturers Scrambling to Secure Patents
According to Chinese report filed by CNA, manufacturers have maintained a positive outlook for sapphire substrate applications in consumer electronics. However, due to Apple's sudden push into sapphire manufacturing, Taiwanese manufacturers are now scrambling to the patent office to file sapphire substrate patent applications.
According to the CNA report, Sapphire crystal glass materials (sapphire crystal), has such characteristics as anti-dirt, scratch resist abrasion and second only to diamond in hardness transparent material. With material's application in high-end smartphones, it has opened a whole new frontier.
Smartphone manufacturers including LG, Samsung and HTC have introduced sapphire substrate in camera lens cover of new high-end smartphones, and Apple introduced sapphire into their home button to improve fingerprint sensor quality and protecting sensors from scratching. Smartphone applications have opened up a whole new world for sapphire substrate material outside of LED epitaxy applications.
CNA further reports that "International companies active layout-related patents, the sapphire substrate Taiwan factory also accelerated the pace of response. For example, Xin continued layout sapphire crystal diamond optics intellectual property, more than half of the patents, patent portfolio covers mobile phones in addition to sapphire lens protection, primary keys and sapphire crystal screen applications, but also includes other items."
LEDinside adds that "Taiwanese sapphire substrate manufacturer Tera Xtal Technology Co. for example, has deployed sapphire substrate optical intellectual property rights. The intellectual property rights cover sapphire substrate applications in smartphone camera lens cover, home buttons, sapphire and other applications.
In general, the outlook for sapphire substrate material applications in consumer electronics is positive. However, costs, mass production, and market popularity are still key issues for the material's application in consumer electronics. Apple's control of sapphire substrate material and patents has urged Taiwanese manufacturers to quickly deploy patent and intellectual property applications to establish their footing in future opportunities of offering diverse applications."
Patently Apple recently opened a new Archive covering Apple's patent pending sapphire glass inventions for those wanting to review them. Back in August 2013 we asked the question: "Why is Apple so focused on new Glass Processes Lately?" We noted in that report's summary that it was "the second major patent on advancing glass processes in two weeks. Is it just a backup plan or is Apple working on new projects? Only Time will tell." Indeed it did and now Apple has the rest of the world scrambling to follow their lead.
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