Nichia Shows No Signs of Settling Patent Dispute with Everlight

Japanese LED manufacturer Nichia has shown no signs of making peace with Taiwan LED manfuacturer Everlight over the latest patent dispute. In a rare move, Nichia held a press conference in Taiwan to clarify the situation and criticized Everlight’s former response towards the case. Nichia’s General Manager of Legal Affairs and Intellectual Properties, Katsuyuki Akutagawa, who arrived in Taipei on Sept. 13 pointed out, Everlight had been spreading biased information regarding the patent dispute over the past year, which has misdirected Nichia clients and high ranking client officials to believe the company’s patents were worthless. Akutagawa appearance in Taipei shows Nichia has abandoned its more conservative approach from the past to a more aggressive stance. It is evident that Nichia has declared a full out war, and there is currently no signs of settlement.

Since 2002, Nichia has been involved in more than 50 global patent lawsuits, including against TG, Cree, Rohm and Osram, said Akutagawa. In most cases, the lawsuits ended respectably, in which both sides reached a settlement and exchanged patent rights. However, in Nichia’s case against Everlight, the Taiwanese manufacturer spread biased information over the past year, resulting in the Japanese manufacturer's skepticism of Everlight’s trustworthiness and patent development. Akutagawa frankly remarked there were no signs of conciliating with Everlight yet.

According to data  from Nichia, there are currently eight patent lawsuits between the two companies. Out of these, Nichia accused Everlight over patent infringements in six cases, while the remaining two were filed by Everlight against Nichia.In the patent infringement case filed jointly by Everlight and U.S. fiber optic manufacturer Emcore against Nichia’s on April 9, 2012, the patent used by Everlight belonged to Emcore, according to Akutagawa.

This is the second time that Nichia has held a press conference in Taiwan to explain a patent dispute.Nichia’s attitude has become more hawkish compared to its last press conference back in June 2012 to explain Japan’s Patent Office’s ruling that invalidated  the company's blue LED patents. Akutagawa pointed out, the main reason of organizing another press conference, was impact from information released by Everlight over the past year has mislead clients to believing the company patents were worthless. Nichia announced it will launch a full scale war against Everlight products that have infringed patent rights.

Other Taiwanese Manufacturers Patent Disputes with Nichia

As Nichia and Everlight enter a full battle, the Japanese company is also involved in other  patent disputes with Taiwanese LED package manufacturer Harvatek Corporation and Unity Opto Technology. In its lawsuit against Harvatek Corporation, Nichia has won the first trial in Germany, and the lawsuit is in the process of entering the second trial. Akutagawa expressed confidence in the Harvatek Corporation case results. However, the outcome for Unity Opto’s lawsuit against Nichia remains uncertain. Unity Opto filed a patent invalidity lawsuit against Nichia after the Japanese manufacturer settled a patent lawsuit with Tsann Kuen Trans-Nation Group in Japan.

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