Lexington and Google LED Patent Suit Brings Substrate Properties under Lime Light

Lexington Luminance plaintiff filed against Google for using patent infringed LEDs in two Google Nexus phones has taken a new turn recently, reported The National Law Review.

The dispute traces back to November 2012, when Lexington accused Google of infringing U.S. patent 6,936,851 (the “’851 Patent”), named “Semiconductor LED and Method for Manufacturing Same.” The two parties stuck to the case in 2014, as they waited for the outcome of a Federal Circuit decision involving the “851 patent”. The case was reopened in 2015 after the companies received the decision.

According to the report, Lexington changed some of the infringement contentions, and the Court issued its claim construction order. The developments led Google to move for summary judgment of non-infringement.

Google has challenged the infringement claims with one claim limitation in the patent: “a sloped etching profile with a smooth rotation of microfacets,” which is related to the LED substrate structure.

Judge Richard Stearns and The Court’s construed term “microfacet” as “very small planes that make up a surface contour,” indicating the phrase means “when viewed in outline from the side, the trenches have etched sloped sides made up of a rotation of microfacets that approximate a smooth curve.”

The parties’ dispute is over whether Google’s LEDs have “variable, jagged surface roughness without…flat lines” as Google claimed, or whether it is “crystalline in nature” and “necessarily exhibit surface microfacets” as argued by Lexington.

For the Court, the “clashing interpretation” was sufficient to deny Google’s motion for a summary judgement, since it “raised a question of fact to be resolved by the jury.”

The case is Lexington Luminance LLC v. Google, Inc., No. 1-12-cv-12218, pending in the District of Massachusetts. A copy of the opinion can be found here.

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