P. Casey and M. Pecht
CALCE Electronic Products and Systems Center
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Successful implementation of lead-free solders requires surmounting a host of technical, social and business challenges to achieve their widespread use. One of the key business challenges with lead-free alloys is the intellectual property associated with them. Specifically, the number of patents making lead-free solder compositions proprietary has been increasing rapidly since the mid-1990s. As the amount of intellectual property rises, so does the complexity and coverage of claims. This paper presents an overview of the technical status and remaining issues regarding lead-free solder usage. Current socio-political trends and existing patents, including which compositions are protected and how infringement on lead-free intellectual property rights may be difficult to avoid, are discussed.
Complete article is available to CALCE Consortium Members.