Over the last 5 years, QuarkStar has
averaged more than 1 new patent application each week
while receiving almost 2 new patent allowances each month
In the global transformation to solid-state lighting, QuarkStar’s goal has been to create and own the the tools and the weapons (the technologies and the IP) to win the battles of a highly disrupted and contentious SSL industry. By developing future-proof technologies and securing them with comprehensive global IP protection, we have focused on creating a unique opportunity for long-lasting, sustainable market advantage and profits.
QuarkStar’s early members were the recognized pioneers of the field, already instrumental in beginning the solid-state lighting global take-over. In the process, they saw what was required next to truly take advantage of its many opportunities, and to solve the growing pain problems that accompanied this new technology.
Hence, rather than simply continuing down old technology paths, QuarkStar has pioneered new ways to harness the LED – and the concepts and ideas that we have recognized and secured are now being seen increasingly in the commercial marketplace. It is a trend that QuarkStar anticipated well before the rest of the industry, and we have used our lead time to prepare and fortify a strategic portfolio that conveys unmatchable market advantage.
QuarkStar’s patent portfolio has been designed, from the ground up, as a strategic business tool. Its primary mission is to protect core, application, and system technologies that are crucial to advance high-margin lighting sectors across the value chain. It is also designed to provide opportunities that extend across a wide spectrum of other uses ranging from defensive to targeted assertion scenarios as well as providing ‘bargaining chips’ in the industry
From LED packages and modules, to luminaires and systems of luminaires with unique properties under intelligent control, QuarkStar’s IP portfolio covers multiple layers of technologies that are mutually compatible – yet independent from proprietary technologies, allowing for supplier and channel freedom (see following figure).
Since the invention of the incandescent bulb, there has been little appreciable advancement in the surrounding optical technologies. Even now, though LEDs have a luminous flux density/volume ratio of over 100,000x greater than previous lighting technologies (see figure below), the industry is still using the standard toolbox of reflectors and shades, diffusers and prismatics from the last 50 years (culminating in luminaire designs of “spots and dots in boxes”).
The predictable result is a $120+ billion global market with so little protectable differentiation that the entire industry is sinking in a race to the market bottom. Despite robust sales (the need for artificial lighting only grows with global urbanization) robust profit margins are a thing of the past due to a globally cross-licensed and standard manufacturing approach lacking differentiation or competitive advantage.
And while making the light itself more useful and even beautiful, QuarkStar IP enables much cheaper manufacturing opportunities than the universally shared conventional approaches to LED lighting. In a world without profit margins, this is one of QuarkStar's key advantages.
By focusing on both solving the problems of solid-state lighting (such as glare-control, light quality, manufacturing and operational costs, and protectable differentiation) and realizing the promise of brand new capabilities (such as miniaturized luminaires that can be hidden directly into surrounding architecture or being able to create pristine and uniform lines, planes, and volumes of light rather than spots and dots), QuarkStar’s approaches are already being recognized as creating undeniable competitive advantages. As such, they have immediate relevance to multiple markets and verticals, including many of those with the highest profit margins.
QuarkStar has grown its substantial patent portfolio from scratch, acquiring only one outside patent. Following cutting-edge IP strategies, QuarkStar has:
• Kept all awarded patents in force;
• Maintained pending applications in all families across the US, many in EP and CN, and core IP ones in JP;
• Secured defensive publications;
• Prosecution success in over 90% of applications;
• Filed several omnibus applications, each including multiple inventive concepts
These omnibus patents (describing more than one inventive, foundational, or core technologies) provide considerable economic, logistical, and tactical benefits. In particular, they support state-of-the-art IP strategies for claims harvesting. These in turn facilitate broad protection and the tracking of emerging commercial products with continuation and divisional application filings.
Regionally, QuarkStar’s IP focus is on the United States, Europe, and China. IP in Japan is pursued for core technologies. QuarkStar's omnibus patents and core IP have now been allowed in all four of these global regions.
The portfolio, although young, has reached a robust U.S. presence where it continues to mature, providing numerous patent engineering opportunities in both the lighting market and emerging verticals such as LiFi, IoT, horticulture, autonomous vehicles, and others.
As an example, because these emerging applications require integration with infrastructures in new ways and at new scales, new patent opportunities are amplified and compounded by QuarkStar’s unique ability to scale down in size. This scalability not only enables new applications and capabilities, but most critically brings previously downstream functions and capabilities upstream – enabling luminaire-level capabilities on the module level, and module-level capabilities on the package level. There is even QuarkStar IP that covers luminaire-like distributions at the package level. All of this results in significant economic benefits – significantly lower cost manufacturing of the final products.
Every innovation has been pushed hard in dozens of ways into embodiments that were captured in over 400 patent applications. Taken together, the ensemble enables a brand new proprietary design language – one built upon totally new capabilities and economic foundations. Foreign prosecution and vigilance provides additional strategic guidance to advance this portfolio – establishing high-value IP protection that ensures global market opportunities for the next two decades.
Assisted by the top IP firm, Fish and Richardson, QuarkStar has carefully and systematically built a strategic, market-enabling patent portfolio second to none in the industry. This portfolio enables a wide range of strategic opportunities at a time when the battle for margin and differentiation drives consolidation, failure, and success in a highly disrupted market.
Because QuarkStar’s patents constitute the only fresh and fundamentally new optics portfolio in SSL, their natural 15-20 year lifetime is identical to the timespan projected to complete the global conversion to solid-state lighting.
To date, QuarkStar has globally secured over 170 individual utility and design patents/rights from the over 450 patent applications filed.