Yole Développement (Yole) forecasts that UVA-LED powered curing, the primary application in the UV LED market, will be worth $320M in 2020, approximately double from its 2017 level of $160 million.
Furthermore, Yole’s analysts predict that the market for UV LEDs will then boom, towards $1B in 2023, driven by UVC applications. While UVA LEDs are used mainly for curing applications, such as nail dryers and printing, UVC LEDs are beginning to be integrated into products for water disinfection and purification. Yole anticipates that water disinfection and purification will become a major driver of the UV LED market within 3-5 years. A new legal battle has already begun about this technology.
On 25 July 2018, LG Innotek, filed UV LED patent infringement lawsuits against several companies, including Evergreat Inc. (a maker of UVA-powered nail dryers) and its affiliated companies in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. This lawsuit was the first for LG Innotek related to UV LED products. (Ref: Coverage)
According to Yole, LG Innotek leads the market with high-quality UV LEDs of various wavelengths for curing, exposure, sterilization, and horticulture. And last year the company developed 100 mW UV LEDs for sterilization, the world’s highest output.
Yole points out that the landscape of UVA LED makers is currently very diversified, and the industry is in a consolidation phase. LG Innotek is a leading player in UV LEDs and wants to protect its intellectual property (IP). Its recent legal action might be the beginning of several similar actions in the future, Yole noted. LG Innotek has started this lawsuit with nail dryers, which is a low added value application, but Yole expects the company to initiate soon patent lawsuits concerning several other applications including using UVC LEDs for disinfection and purification.
Yole says this action will most likely serve as a deterrent for the potential UVC IP infringers. Therefore, Yole expects other members of the UVC ecosystem to undertake similar legal actions within the next few years.