2013 Review: LED Manufacturers Full Blown Patent Disputes

With the LED industry rebounding in 2013 due to developments in LED lighting, patent disputes between LED manufactures continue to rage on with no end in sight. The most notable has been the long fought out dispute between Japanese LED package manufacturer Nichia and Taiwanese package manufacturer Everlight, dragging their patent war through courts in Japan, China, the U.S., Germany, and more. Lawsuits between Nichia and Taiwanese LED package manufactures Unity Opto and Harvatek have also garnered a lot of news coverage. Aside from package manufactures, Korean TV manufacturer heavy weights Samsung and LG also drew a lot of attention during their patent dispute over OLED technology.

Taiwanese LED manufacturers face five big patent challenges
The Taiwanese LED industry began an upward climb in 2013. However, patent lawsuits have increased pressure especially from the patent network of large European, U.S., and Japanese manufacturers and Chinese manufactures that are rapidly catching up. Taiwanese manufacturers wanting to break through the patent wall must face five challenges: 1) overcome patent sieges set by large European and U.S. manufacturers 2) absence of patent strategies and 3) long term supply chain integration difficulties 4) domestic patent system's lack of LED industry understanding 5) patent infringement from patent trolls.

Read More: Taiwanese LED Manufacturers Face Five Big Patent Challenges (Chinese)

Nichia v.s. Everlight - Patent Dispute Continues Raging
The patent battle between Nichia and Everlight has shown no signs of stopping. The two big LED package manufacturers have dragged their dispute from the courts of Japan to Germany and the U.S. During their second press conference in Taiwan during September this year, Nichia showed a much more combative attitude compared to their 2012 press conference. The company stated that they will no longer be passive during this dispute and plan to fight back against Everlight’s patent infringements.

Read More: Nichia Fights Fire with Fire http:// Nichia Shows no Signs of Settling Patent Dispute with Everlight

Nicha v.s. Unity
Unity is one of many Taiwanese manufacturers who have been involved with Nichia in patent disputes. Nichia did not directly accuse Unity of patent infringement, but rather pointed the finger at the company’s Japanese subsidiary Tsannkuen Japan which created an impact on the company’s Japanese bulb sales. The Tokyo District Court judged Nichia’s patent invalid on March 2013, overruling the Japanese company’s lighting patent infringement lawsuit against clients of Unity.

Read More: Nichia Loses Battle to Unity Opto (Chinese)

Nichia v.s. Harvatek
While the dispute between Nichia and Everlight rages on, Taiwanese package manufacturer Harvatek reignited patent wars against the Japanese company this year. Harvatek filed a complaint against Nichia and its U.S. subsidiary Nichia American Corp. on November 5th complaining their LED products had infringed its patents at the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division. The Taiwanese company also asked the court to ban Nichia’s infringement action and demanded compensation from the Japanese company.

Read More: Harvatek and Nichia US LED Patent Lawsuit Analysis

Samsung v.s. LG - Butt Heads Over OLED Patents
Aside from disputes over LED patents, Korean heavy weights Samsung and LG were locked in a heated battle over OLED patent infringements for a year. The dispute began in 2012 when LG filed a damage suit against Samsung demanding compensation. After a year of countersuits, the two companies finally put the dispute to rest in September 2013.

Read More: South Korean Giants Samsung and LG End OLED Patent Dispute

Enplas  v.s. Seoul Semiconductor - Patent disputes spill into backlight sector
Patent disputes also erupted in the backlight field as well in 2013. Japanese optic module manufacturer Enplas Display Device Corporation and its U.S. subsidiary Enplas Tech Solutions and Enplas (U.S.A.) requested a declaratory judgment to the  California Northern District Court on October 29th. The company wanted to clarify if their patents for LED lens modules sold to other LED light equipment manufactures infringed  two LED backlight patents Seoul Semiconductor Company received from Teledyn. Enplas also requested  the court to rule the two patents  as invalid.

Lighting Science v.s. Cree Fight Over LED Luminarie Patent
Florida based lighting company Lighting Science Group Corporation (LSG) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against North Carolina manufacturer Cree on April 10th, requesting the court ban the patent and for Cree to pay damages. The patent in question was LSG’s patent number US8, 201,968 called low profile light. The company accused Cree of producing and selling the T67 LED recessed lamp, mainly used in the inlay of ceiling lamps, which infringed on patents 1-6, 9, 14, 17-20, and 22. The Florida District Court oversaw the preceding of the lawsuit.
Bayco  v.s. Philips LED Patent Dispute Resolved
Bayco Products filed a patent invalidity and product infringement lawsuit at the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division claiming that Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V and U.S. Philips subsidiary Philips Intellectual Property & Standards patents were invalid. The original defendant, Bayco, received a letter from Philips claiming the company’s XPP-5450 multifunctional headlamp infringed patents owned by Philips and demanded a response on Nov. 28th 2012. Feeling wrongly confronted, Bayco filed a patent invalidity and product infringement lawsuit.

Cree v.s. Cooper LED Lighting long drawn out patent dispute
Large U.S. LED manufacturer Cree issued a patent infringement lawsuit accusing Cooper Lighting LLC of producing and selling LED lighting equipment that infringed on the company’s patents to the Wisconsin District Court on February 19th. Cooper Lighting LLC manufacturers and sells many LED lighting equipment products, especially LED area lighting and street lighting products that use the company’s patented AccuLED Optic system which Cree claimed infringed on their US 8,282,239 patent. Additionally, Cooper Lighting LLC’s Ventus LED area and street lighting equipment products infringed Cree’s US 8, 070, 306 patent.

Author: Pinchun Chou, Senior Editor, LEDinside http:// Translator: Leah Allen, Editor, LEDinside


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