BASF has been working on a blue phosphorescent OLED emitter for quite some time - in fact the company says they have started developing an iridium-based blue PHOLED as early in 2003. Now Karl Hahn, a senior VP at BASF, says that the company will be ready to launch a commercial blue phosphorescent emitter by the end of 2014 aimed towards OLED lighting panels.
During the same presentation, Karl Hahn said that BASF plans to open a new OLED display focused laboratory in Korea during 2014.
In 2008, BASF and Osram announced an efficient (60 lm/W) all-phosphorescent OLED lighting panel. That panel (developed as part of the OPAL project with Aixtron, Philips and Applied Materials) suffered from short lifetime and hopefully BASF finally managed to solve the lifetime issue. In 2012, BASF stated again that they are developing a new blue emitter.
Universal Display already commercialized red and green PHOLED materials, and an efficient long-lasting blue is one of the key technologies the OLED industry is waiting for to enhance the efficiency of display and lighting panels. UDC claims they hold basic PHOLED patents so it'll be interesting to see how BASF plans to market these. BASF (together with Merck and Sumitomo Chemical) challenged a key PHOLED patent in Europe, but the patent was upheld. The companies filed an appeal and now we're waiting for the next EPO hearing in November.
Developing a blue PHOLED seems to be a very challenging task. UDC have been trying to do so for years (and a company official once said they have tried over 2,000 ways to achieve it without the success) - and are still trying out new approaches.
Disclosure: the author of this post holds some shares in Universal Display