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Plot thickens in Seoul Semi-Nichia LED patent war

Posted: 15 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED patent? infringement? design patent?

The LED patent battle between Nichia Corp. and Seoul Semiconductor Inc. continues, with the Korean firm recently filing a new patent infringement suit against Nichia in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

The suit alleges that the Japanese company infringed Seoul Semi's patents on all products of white, blue, green and UV LEDs. Seoul Semi owns U.S. Patent 5,075,742, which covers technology related to the semiconductor layer used for white, blue, green and UV LEDs and laser diodes, which has been issued in Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom and United States.

According to Seoul Semi, Nichia's 2006 revenue for the LED and laser diode business reached $1.3 billion and the company is seeking injunction and damages to compensate for past and future infringements. The company will also exercise the patent right against the companies using the Nichia products in issue.

Seoul Semi was recently cleared of infringement charges pertaining to three of four Nichia design patents at the Northern California District Court. The product at issue was the company's side-view type LED 902 for mobile handsets. The company maintains that Nichia's U.S. design patents are invalid and has also requested the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to reexamine the four patents asserted in the case. The said patents have previously been invalidated by the Korean Intellectual Property Office in December 2006.

Nichia, on the other hand, filed another lawsuit against Seoul Semi Oct. 10 in the Seoul Central District Court for the alleged infringement of Nichia's Korean patent (no. 491482) on white LED products. There are two other pending lawsuits against Seoul Semi; one in the United States for Nichia's patents for white LED products and another in South Korea for a top-view white LED patent.

- Rhea Barua
EE Times-Asia

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