Patent Applications of Smartphone Camera Lens
17 Jun 2016 The Electronic Newspaper
The number of patent applications for smartphone camera lens has increased by 62.7% for the last 5 years as the subject for competition in smartphone camera technology has been changed from a sensor to a lens.

Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) announced on 19th that the number of patent applications in smartphone camera lens was a total of 707 for the past five years from 2011 to 2015.

When measured by year, the number had been on the continuous rise from 102 in 2011, 122 in 2012, 155 in 2013, 162 in 2014, and 166 in 2015.

Autofocus and driving system technology topped the list of the smartphone camera lens patent applications at 39.9%, followed by housing and assembly structure technology at 20.2%, lens optical system, aperture and filtering technology at 13.9%, anti-hand tremor technology at 11.3%, manufacturing and examining technology at 10.0%, and zoom-in technology and multi-angle technology at 4.7%.

Especially the number of patent applications in anti-hand tremor technology recorded the rapid increase by 400% from 5 in 2011 to 25 in 2015. And for Autofocus and driving system technology, the number jumped significantly by 76.3% from 38 to 67. That increase seems attributable to the reflection of the recent demands for high-powered & high functional cameras by customers.

And Samsung Electro-Mechanics came in first at 161 (22.8%) in terms of the number of patent applications, followed by LG Innotek with 158 (22.3%), Samsung Electronics with 38 (5.4%), and LG Electronics with 38 (5.4%). Small and medium-sized companies appear to have the ambition for the technological development, with the number of patent applications of Jahwa Electronics at 35 (5.0%), Optis at 26 (3.7%), and Sekonix at 20 (2.8%).

The number of international patent applications on the camera lens for smartphones, filed in accordance with Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), stood at a total of 1,288. The analysis reveals that domestic companies mostly dominate the high-rankings, with LG Innotek at 81 (6.3%), Samsung Electro-Mechanics at 45 (3.5%), Samsung Electronics at 21 (1.6%), Apple at 21 (1.6%), and Largan Precision (Taiwan) at 21 (1.6%).

Kang Jun-kwan, head of PCT International Search & Preliminary Examination Division 1 at KIPO, said, "Domestic companies should put forth an effort to protect the competitive edge of lens-related patents - a component considered to be the most crucial part subject to competition - in a fiercely competitive environment in the smartphone market."

Reported by Shin Sunmi in Daejeon