Lite-On Technology has filed a patent for a key module and keyboard design. The key module includes a bottom plate, keycap, flexible component, support structure, circuit layer, and pattern modulator. The design aims to improve the functionality and aesthetics of keyboards. GlobalData’s report on Lite-On Technology gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Lite-On Technology, micro-LED wearables was a key innovation area identified from patents. Lite-On Technology's grant share as of September 2023 was 72%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

The patent is filed for a key module with visible region

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Lite-On Technology Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230307196A1) describes a key module for a keyboard that includes several innovative features. The key module consists of a bottom plate with a first opening, a keycap placed on the bottom plate with a visible region corresponding to the first opening, and a flexible component positioned between the bottom plate and the keycap. The flexible component has a second opening that aligns with the visible region of the keycap. A support structure connects the bottom plate and the flexible component and includes a third opening corresponding to the visible region. Additionally, a circuit layer is located between the bottom plate and the flexible component and has a fourth opening corresponding to the visible region. Below the bottom plate, a pattern modulator is present with a pattern region that aligns with the visible region of the keycap.

The patent also introduces a pattern modulator that includes an electronic paper component with the pattern region corresponding to the visible region of the keycap. A backlight component is placed on one side of the electronic paper component to illuminate the pattern region. The circuit layer of the key module includes trigger switch regions that correspond to pressing portions of the flexible component, which are located outside the pattern region. The trigger switch regions are symmetrically disposed beside the fourth opening, while the pressing portions are symmetrically placed beside the second opening. The pressing portions are positioned at the four corners of the second opening.

Furthermore, the key module includes a light emitting component and a light receiving component on the circuit layer. A blocking portion, linked with the keycap, is movably inserted between the light emitting and receiving components. The blocking portion, along with the light emitting and receiving components, is located outside the pattern region. The flexible component consists of a flexible body and a rigid member bonded to it, with the blocking portion formed at either the flexible body or the rigid member.

The patent also describes a keyboard that incorporates the key module. The keyboard includes a bottom plate and multiple key modules. Each key module consists of a keycap, a flexible component, a support structure, and a pattern modulator. The first key module has a visible region corresponding to a first opening of the bottom plate, while the second key module has a pattern on its keycap. The second key module also includes a flexible component and a support structure, with the flexible component placed in an aperture of the support structure. The size of the third opening in the first support structure is larger than the aperture of the second support structure.

Overall, this patent introduces a key module and keyboard design with various unique features, including a pattern modulator, trigger switch regions, and a flexible component structure. These innovations aim to enhance the functionality and visual appeal of keyboards.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. 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.