The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the growing consumer demand for more versatile and durable electronic devices, as well as the desire for larger screen sizes in portable devices, coupled with the need for compact and foldable form factors, and growing importance of technologies such as flexible organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and thin-film transistor (TFT). In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in technology: bendable displays. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

190+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, network-on-a-chip, in-memory computing, and aural exciters are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Electron beam lithography, OLED pixel compensation circuits, and PCI power management are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are capacitive touch panels and emergency communications network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Bendable displays is a key innovation area in technology

Bendable displays are screens or panels that offer flexibility, enabling them to be bent or folded without causing harm to the device. This characteristic allows for the creation of more resilient and space-saving designs. These displays belong to the category of flexible display technology, utilizing materials capable of withstanding frequent bending and folding.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of bendable displays.

Key players in bendable displays – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to bendable displays

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Mitsubishi Steel Mfg 55 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 387 Unlock Company Profile
Pegatron 35 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 49 Unlock Company Profile
Wistron 107 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 55 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 93 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 201 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 36 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 30 Unlock Company Profile
Jarllytec 17 Unlock Company Profile
Acer 122 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 34 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 22 Unlock Company Profile
Compal Electronics 321 Unlock Company Profile
Visionox Technology 22 Unlock Company Profile
ASUSTeK Computer 36 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 219 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 112 Unlock Company Profile
Vivo Communication Technology 49 Unlock Company Profile
Royole 21 Unlock Company Profile
First Dome 62 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Royole Technologies 59 Unlock Company Profile
Kem Hongkong 25 Unlock Company Profile
Vivo Mobile Communication 16 Unlock Company Profile
Fositek 28 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in bendable displays, Compal Electronics is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at describing a foldable electronic device comprising a primary body, a secondary body, and a dual-shaft hinge module. The secondary body features two opposing reference planes. The dual-shaft hinge module incorporates a pair of shafts, one attached to the primary body and the other to the secondary body, with the latter functioning as a cam shaft. The cam section of this shaft contacts a set of stop elements on the secondary body. Through the dual-shaft hinge module, the primary body can rotate in relation to the secondary body. As the primary body transitions from a state where it overlaps with the first reference plane to one where it overlaps with the second reference plane, the cam section exerts pressure on the stop elements, causing the secondary body to move away from the primary body. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Intel and Hon Hai Precision Industry.

In terms of application diversity, Hon Hai Precision Industry leads the pack, while Nokia and Sharp stood int he second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Intel held the top position, followed by Sharp and Microsoft. 

Bendable displays mark a significant advancement in screen technology, offering a level of flexibility and durability that was previously unattainable with rigid screens. The innovation enables the creation of devices with versatile form factors, allowing them to be folded, rolled, or curved without damaging the display. The significance of bendable displays lies in their potential to revolutionize the design of electronic devices, leading to more compact and portable gadgets. Additionally, these displays open new possibilities for creative and functional applications in industries such as consumer electronics, automotive displays, and wearable technology. Their impact on user experience and device durability makes them a pivotal technology in the evolution of electronic displays.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.