Nichia Targets B&Q Self-Branded LED Bulbs in Latest YAG Patent Suit

(Author: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

Japanese LED manufacturer Nichia left a blazing trail of patent lawsuits in 2016, and the latest suit against B&Q seems to add onto the latest list of U.S. LED bulb retailers and distributor suits, except this suit should be viewed independently.

The latest suit filed in London High Court (Patents Court) on Thursday, involves YAG-based phosphor patents European Patents Nos. 0936682, 2197053, and 2276080, and concerns B&Q’s LED illumination products including “240 White LED Lights (YF-10-44).

The LED industry is aware that Nichia’s YAG-based phosphor patents will expire by 2017, and Nichia’s decision to file a suit against B&Q for infringing these patents suggest the British company might be using LED chips with YAG phosphor that are not patent-protected products manufactured by Cree, Lumileds, Epistar and others, according to LEDinside observations.

Additionally, since patent infringement compensation calculations are based on product shipment volume, Nichia would be able to acquire a larger compensation.

It should be noted that there is no evidence to support claims that the B&Q LED bulbs are using Everlight LEDs for the time being.

Other home improvement retailers might be alarmed by Nichia’s recent suit, though. European home improvement retailers including B&Q, IKEA and U.S. counterpart Home Depot have launched their own low-priced LED bulb brands to encourage consumers to switch to more energy efficient lighting, many of these retailers outsource their bulb production to Chinese manufacturers, which might put them at risk of using unpatented LED chips.

Nichia’s recent suit against B&Q is very likely another tactic to deter end-product manufacturers from using unpatented products and to urge them to switch to the Japanese manufacturers products.

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