Arizona-based LED Manufacturer Optolum Sues Cree for Patent Infringement

An Arizona-based LED luminaire manufacturer Optolum is suing top U.S. LED manufacturer Cree over patent infringement, reported The News & Observer.

Optolum relationship with Cree is a direct competitor and client, the small LED lighting systems manufacturers purchases Cree LED chips for its own products.

It sued the Durham LED lighting company for allegedly infringed technology that went into a groundbreaking Cree LED light bulb launched in 2013, which was sold exclusively in Home Depot.

In the lawsuit filed against Cree in the federal district court in Arizona last week, OptoLum asked for unspecified actual damages as well as punitive damages.

A Cree spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigations.

In the suit, OptoLum’s founder and CEO Joel Dry is the inventor who patented the technology that was used by Cree to make energy efficient LED bulbs with similar lighting quality to incandescent bulbs.

OptoLum unveiled a prototype of the LED bulb in 2003 and showcased the bulb at LED lighting conferences in the subsequent years, including at a conference in Dallas where Dry met with Cree co-founder John Edmond “and explained the design of his bulb in detail.” Dry later would meet with Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda at another conference where he displayed the bulb.

The Arizona-based LED company never produced a LED bulb and has been focused on manufacturing LED lighting fixtures for the commercial application sector.

Cree also arrived to the same conclusion that commercial lighting was a lucrative market for LED lights but launched its own LED bulbs targeting consumers, which resulted in it deploying “a long-term and covert strategy” that ended with it directly competing against customers.

“In the execution of this strategy, Cree copied the design of Mr. Dry’s LED bulb which it had known about since 2003,” stated the lawsuit.

The full complaint filed by Optolum against Cree can be viewed here:

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