OSRAM initiates patent infringement litigation against Samsung and LG

OSRAM has filed legal actions against Samsung group companies and LG group companies in the US and Germany as well as against an LG group company in Japan. Based on its conviction that these companies, respectively, infringe fundamental patent rights, OSRAM will also file a suit against LG in China tomorrow. With this move OSRAM intends to enforce its patents on Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.

In these lawsuits OSRAM stresses that Samsung and LG group companies infringe its patents on white and surface mountable LEDs in the US, Germany and, as far as LG is concerned, in Japan and China. OSRAM intends to prevent unauthorized use of its technology and seeks orders from the courts to prevent Samsung and LG from importing and selling infringing LEDs and products containing these LEDs, such as LED-backlit TV sets and computer monitors. In addition, OSRAM is applying for compensation.

The legal actions focus on LEDs using technologies protected by OSRAM patents. These technologies relate to the electrical and thermal connection structure as well as to conversion technology, which is used, inter alia, to convert the blue light of the LED chip into white light. Typical applications of such white LEDs include, for instance, display backlighting for TV sets and monitors.

Except for Osram, LED patent infringement lawsuits have not ceased over the past few years. For instance, Nichia filed lawsuits against Everlight in Taiwan, TKEC in Japan, and Wilmar in the US in 2010. In addtion, Philips also sued Seoul Semiconductor for patent infringement, and Cree filed a lawsuit against Semileds as well.

The idustry report indicates that during the 15 years between 1996 and 2010, there had been 168 LED patent infringement lawsuits world-wide. Among them, 62 lawsuits were from Nichia, 28 from Philips, 20 from Cree, 18 from Epistar Group, 10 from patent licensing company.

However, most patent infringement lawsuits between international LED manufacturers were reconciled with patent cross license agreements . For example, Osram, Cree, Nichia, Toyoda Gosei and Philips have respectively reached LED patent cross license agreements in 2011.

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