Sector deep dive: Electronics

As mentioned previously, electronics is predominantly an Asian affair. The world’s largest patent holder, Samsung, sits atop our ranking, followed by its South Korean rival, LG.

Digitisation and connectivity are the engines here – effectively driving the ecosystem, which is further enhanced by AI and machine learning across various industries. Research is active in the areas of display technologies and haptics for smartphones, home appliances, infotainment devices, AR/VR, communication technologies and power management. This trend is here to stay as more and more devices become connected.

Table 1. Electronics players in the top 100

Company nameEU grantsIndustryCountry of origin
Samsung Electronics19,945ElectronicsSouth Korea
LG Corp18,093ElectronicsSouth Korea
Sony Corporation9,773ElectronicsJapan
Apple4,316ElectronicsUnited States
Ricoh Company3,569ElectronicsJapan

Table 2. Technology trends

Top trendsTop playersActive grantsTop players 2019-2020Active grants 2019-2020Key areasOther key players

Display technologies/ haptics


Flexible or rollable LED/LCD displays, gesture tracing and control, tactile computer devices, electro luminescent panels, active matrix electrodes, OLEDS, display device circuitry, touch and gesture-based sensors, control and interface arrangements for touch screen, digitisers, polarisers, touch pads

Volkswagen, Huawei, Nokia, Alphabet

LG Corp996LG Corp504

Human-machine interactions-based devices


HMI devices, optical communication, voice controlled systems, biometric/voice security, HMI speech recognition, 3D-mixed reality, AR/VR, optical viewing arrangements for vehicles, optical HUD devices, gesture-based interaction, video processing, optical communication, image senor circuits for communication

Alphabet, Volkswagen, Huawei

LG Corp650LG Corp318

Wireless communication and networks

LG Corp2,572LG Corp949

Structure or mounting of specific components, portable transmitters and receivers, wireless signal allocation devices, wireless transmission paths, wireless traffic scheduling, resource management, RF, ZigBee, wireless channel access, wireless communication access security, network data management, power management, mobility management, location sensing, wireless communication synchronisation arrangements

Qualcomm, Ericsson, Huawei


Semiconductor devices for appliances

LG Corp1,140LG Corp471

Active matrix displays for LEDs, LCDs, OLEDS, semiconductor components for circuitry, AMLCD driving circuits, optocouplers, colour-changing LEDs, semiconductor component arrangement

Robert Bosch, Siemens

BOE Technology181BOE Technology133

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