News Column

"Touch Panel" in Patent Application Approval Process

September 4, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventor Kuo, Jin-Ting (New Taipei City, TW), filed on May 13, 2013, was made available online on August 21, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Acer Incorporated.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention generally relates to a touch panel, and more particularly, to a touch panel with a visual masking layer.

"In recent years, electronic devices, such as notebooks (NB), tablet PCs, and smart phones, have been widely used in our daily life along with the development of technologies. Some of aforementioned electronic devices are designed very small-sized and light-weighted therefore can be conveniently operated and carried around. Different types of electronic devices with diversified functionalities have been developed, and user-friendliness and practicality of these electronic devices make them very popular and allow them to be used regarding different purposes. Thus, a user can hold an electronic device with a single hand and operate the electronic device by touching or pressing a keyboard or a touch panel located on the operation panel of the electronic device.

"In an electronic device, an electrode layer is disposed at the display area of the touch panel for sensing touch events. When an object touches or approaches the touch panel, the electrode layer generates a touch signal correspondingly. A visual masking layer is usually disposed around the display area of the touch panel (at a non-display area) to shield the peripheral circuits of the touch panel. The visual masking layer at the non-display area needs to be thick enough so that it won't affect the appearance of the touch panel. The brighter color (for example, gray or white) the visual masking layer has, the thicker the visual masking layer should be. Additionally, to enhance the touch input function of the operating system, an electrode layer may also be disposed at the non-display area to allow the non-display area to provide touch sensing signals. However, a height difference should exist between the surface of the visual masking layer at the non-display area and the surface of the display area. When an electrode layer is disposed on the surface of the visual masking layer and the surface of the display area, the height difference between the visual masking layer and the display area may cause circuit breakage in the electrode layer."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a touch panel, in which the height difference between a visual masking layer and a display area covered by an electrode layer is reduced and accordingly the yield rate of the touch panel is improved.

"The present invention provides a touch panel for providing a touch signal. The touch panel includes a substrate, a first visual masking layer, an electrode layer, a metal material layer, and a second visual masking layer. The substrate has a surface. The first visual masking layer is disposed on at least one edge area of the surface. A part of the electrode layer is disposed at a display area on the surface adjacent to the edge area, and another part of the electrode layer covers at least a portion of the first visual masking layer. When the touch panel is touched or approached by an object, the electrode layer generates the touch signal correspondingly. The metal material layer is disposed at the edge area and electrically connected with the electrode layer. The metal material layer transmits the touch signal to a driving element. The second visual masking layer is disposed at the edge area and stacked on the first visual masking layer. The said another part of the electrode layer is sandwiched between the first visual masking layer and the second visual masking layer.

"As described above, in a touch panel provided by the present invention, the visual masking layer is a configuration of multiple layers. When the first visual masking layer is disposed at the edge area, the electrode layer can be disposed on the display area and the first visual masking layer. After that, the second visual masking layer is covered on the electrode layer. Thus, in the touch panel provided by the present invention, the thickness of the visual masking layers is maintained so that the appearance of the touch panel won't be affected, and the height difference between the display area and the edge area which are covered by the electrode layer is reduced so that circuit breakage in the electrode layer caused by large height difference can be avoided.

"These and other exemplary embodiments, features, aspects, and advantages of the invention will be described and become more apparent from the detailed description of exemplary embodiments when read in conjunction with accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

"FIG. 1A is a diagram of a touch panel according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 1B is a cross-sectional view of the touch panel in FIG. 1A along line I-I.

"FIG. 1C is an exploded view of the touch panel in FIG. 1B.

"FIG. 1D is a diagram of the touch panel in FIG. 1A after a first visual masking layer is disposed.

"FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of a touch panel according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2B is an exploded view of the touch panel in FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 2C is a diagram of the touch panel in FIG. 2A after a first visual masking layer is disposed.

"FIGS. 2D-2H are diagrams of different gradient effects achieved by different arrangements of ink dots P in FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of a touch panel according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3B is an exploded view of the touch panel in FIG. 3A.

"FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view of a touch panel according to still another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 4B is an exploded view of the touch panel in FIG. 4A.

"FIG. 4C is a diagram of the touch panel in FIG. 4A after a first visual masking layer is disposed.

"FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of a touch panel according to yet still another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5B is an exploded view of the touch panel in FIG. 5A."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Kuo, Jin-Ting. Touch Panel. Filed May 13, 2013 and posted August 21, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4271&p=86&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140814.PD.&OS=PD/20140814&RS=PD/20140814

Keywords for this news article include: Acer Incorporated.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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