Nichia and Everlight Raging Patent Wars Escalate in Scale

Patent wars between Japanese LED manufacturer Nichia and Taiwanese manufacturer Everlight have intensified over the last two to three years. Last month, Katsuyuki Akutagawa, General Manager of Legal Affairs and Intellectual Properties at Nichia visited Taiwan to clarify the ongoing disputes. Akutagawa pointed out that Everlight has continued to file meaningless patent invalidity lawsuits against Nichia. In response, the Japanese company declared a full scale patent war against the largest Taiwanese LED manufacturer, and revealed plans of hunting down Everlight for patent infringements in any country, by taking all necessary legal actions. 

Everlight has on numerous occasions released biased news reports regarding the lawsuits, and has never given a comprehensive explanation, according to Akutagawa. In addition, the Taiwanese company has even used U.S. company Emcore’s patents to file lawsuits against Nichia. All of these signs show Everlight has no plans of reaching a settlement. 

Everlight’s Position Remains Unchanged

In response, Everlight spokesman Liu Pang-yen remarked, “the company’s stance on intellectual property rights remains the same, and will be doing all that it can to protect client and stockholders’ rights.”

As LED lighting application expands, more business opportunities have emerged. Everlight and Nichia’s ongoing patent wars over the last two to three years have been escalating in scale. Everlight has filed a total of 28 patent invalidity lawsuits against Everlight in Taiwan, China, Germany and Japan, said Akutagawa. The company has filed the most lawsuits in Japan, which totaled 22 cases. Out of the 22 lawsuits, 17 were ruled as valid, four are still in hearing, and one case is being appealed, added Akutagawa

Interlocking LED Patents

In addition, Everlight has also filed four invalid patent lawsuits in China, one in Germany, and one in Taiwan. Two Nichia patents in China were ruled as valid, while the patents in Germany and Taiwan are still being processed.

Commenting on the patent dispute, LEDinside Research Director Roger Chu pointed out that Nichia does have a hold on many patents. Everlight has invested a lot of time and effort to overcome these barriers, and these breakthroughs will help reduce restrictions on other package manufacturers as well. So far Everlight has sought protection by purchasing other companies LED patents. 

However, asked whether the contestation will end anytime soon, Chu projected the LED patent wars are expected to rage on. The LED patents involved tend to be very basic with very wide applications, making the case rather controversial, explained Chu. Although Everlight has spent massive resources on the lawsuits, no immediate impacts on its revenues are expected to occur this year. 

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