One of the exciting markets to watch in coming months and years is OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes, a lead example of printed and organic electronics). I noted that one fourth the way through 2011, the patent office is expected for the first time to publish more than 5,000 patent applications which refer to OLED or "organic light emitting diode" (5,292 - projected). This number has been rapidly rising each year. For example, back in 2004, this number was only 1,243. The number went over 2,000 in 2006 and over 3,000 in 2008 (and over 4,000 last year).
Nanotechnology is playing a role in OLED development as well. Among the 977 nanotechnology patent publications, for example, 185 refer to OLED or "organic light emitting diodes." Again, a rapid rise can be observed where this year, 2011, the projection is for about 100 (92), whereas 2010 was at 85, 2009 was at 32, 2008 was at 20, and 2007 was only 13 (which was more than the previous five years combined).
OLED is also an example of energy efficient lighting so is an important aspect of cleantech.
Patents play an important role in OLED development. Universal Display Corporation, for example, recently announced it had acquired 74 OLED patents from Motorola. LG bought Kodak OLED group including patents for $100M and $414M in royalties, per media reports.
Cintelliq has also reported explosive growth in OLED patenting since 2000.