[Breaking News] Cree Files LED Bulb Patent Infringement Lawsuits Against Unity Opto and Feit Electric

Cree has filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Feit Electric and its Asian supplier, Unity Opto Technology, to curb infringement on Cree’s patented technologies and to address Feit’s false and misleading advertising claims that certain of its products meet ENERGY STAR® specifications. The suits allege infringement of 10 patents related to LED lighting.

“Cree fully supports competition, but it should be fair competition,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. “We have invested nearly $1 billion in R&D over the past 10 years to create fundamental technology that has enabled the LED lighting revolution. With more than 4,000 issued patents, we have an obligation to act to protect our shareholders and our licensing partners.”

As part of the complaint, Cree is requesting that the ITC issue an order to exclude infringing and falsely advertised articles from entry into the United States, and a cease and desist order that requires the respondents to cease selling infringing and falsely advertised LED bulbs in the U.S. Feit and Unity Opto are infringing Cree’s patents and misleading consumers with their advertising, thereby enjoying an unfair advantage in the market and discouraging the development of new products that benefit consumers.

Cree was the first to develop sophisticated technology to achieve omnidirectionality of light to replicate the experience of an incandescent bulb. As a result, Cree introduced the first sub $10 LED light bulb to U.S. consumers that looks and lights like an incandescent bulb. Through a series of tests, Cree determined that certain of Feit’s bulbs that carry the ENERGY STAR label fail critical performance requirements such as omnidirectional light distribution. As a result, consumers are purchasing bulbs, based on the trusted ENERGY STAR label, that do not perform as promised.

Cree has secured patents for its innovations that are hastening the adoption of energy-efficient technology since the company’s founding in 1987. Cree’s licensing program, which includes over 20 licensing partners, allows other companies to use its proprietary technology, and supports these organizations’ pursuit of new markets and products.

North Carolina-based Cree employs nearly 3,900 people across the United States.

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