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Actionable news in OLED: Universal Display Corporation,

Your Next TV May Come From New Jersey

Photographer: Rainer Jensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Some of the world’s biggest electronics makers are trying to sell consumers on a sharper TV screen made from organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. LG has taken the lead in pushing the pricey technology over the dimmer liquid-crystal displays in most sets, and gradually costs have dropped enough for a 55-inch LG OLED TV to go for $1,800 at Best Buy, about the same as a comparable high-end Samsung LCD screen. Now Panasonic and China’s Skyworth are getting into the act, too. The manufacturer that may have the most at stake, however, is one with a market value of $1.9 billion, headquartered not in a tech hot spot, but on the outskirts of Trenton, N.J.

Universal Display Corp. sits a few miles from the Lower Trenton Bridge, with the famous neon letters spelling out TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES. Since its 1994 founding, UDC has focused primarily on advancing OLED technology and has led the development of more energy-efficient screens. For years it has controlled the patents on some of the most cutting-edge OLED materials. UDC has licensed its technology to Samsung for use in Galaxy smartphones since 2011, and in January it signed a licensing deal with LG through 2022.

Licensing fees make up about a third of UDC’s $191 million in annual revenue, and the rest comes from selling the...