Lynk Labs Expands Focus on Licensing & Enforcing Intellectual Property in LED Lighting Industry

Lynk Labs Inc., an OEM component supplier of AC/HV LED and DC LED Lighting assemblies, modules, lamps, drivers and system solutions is expanding its focus on the "LED industry's unlicensed use, import and export of the company's broad and diversified intellectual property portfolio," according to Lynk officials.  To support the expansion of this plan, Lynk has formed Lynk IP Asset Management LLC which will have a primary objective of supporting licensees, enforcing IP rights and managing the proper use of Lynks' broad and growing patent portfolio in the LED lighting market.

(Image: Lynk Labs Inc.)

To build out this initiative, Lynk hired Paul Kallmes, an IP expert and licensing executive responsible for jump-starting the Color Kinetics patent licensing program. That portfolio was purchased by Phillips in 2007 and today has over 800 licensees. "Paul is the best person we could have hired to launch an industry wide campaign. He will be focused on enabling continued industry growth using Lynk IP via a proactive licensing program around our patent portfolio," said Mike Miskin, CEO of Lynk Labs. "It's exciting to see that since starting back at CK in 2005, Philips has now grown that portfolio into the most successful licensing program in the industry. Since then, I have not seen any other patent portfolios with such far-reaching, high-volume coverage in multiple market segments as the Lynk Labs portfolio. I'm eager to get started building long term, beneficial partnerships with our licensees," said Paul Kallmes, Director of IP Licensing at Lynk Labs & Lynk IP Asset Management.

In 2015 Lynk successfully enforced its patents in an infringement case against Juno & Schneider Electric which later added Acuity Brands to the case. Since then, "Lynk has continued to grow the company's sales and technology offering, substantially strengthening and expanding the company's portfolio, while also confirming significant, high volume unlicensed use of its patent assets in the LED market. A big undertaking and achievement for a small fast growing company like Lynk Labs," said Jim Shimota, lead attorney for Lynk Labs portfolio at Haynes & Boone.

According to a 3rd party study by IP Checkups, a leading IP research firm, Lynk Labs holds the second leading IP portfolio worldwide in its respective space which includes both AC and DC LED based technology from chip to system level IP. Another independent study conducted by CRAIN'S Chicago Business hired Ocean Tomo, the IP industry's leading IP evaluation and valuation firm, placed Lynk Labs at #3 on CRAIN's 2017 list of "The Most Innovative Companies."

"A high volume of various LED lighting products are being sold today using Lynk patents. These products are either being imported or exported (in most cases from China) and sold through major retailers and lighting distribution centers where Lynk has issued and pending patents such as the US, Canada, Europe and more.  These products are being sold by many, including some of the largest leading US and international LED lighting manufacturers and retailers. The market is facing substantial competitive challenges spurred by price wars and price erosion and major changes to how the lighting industry works today compared to just a decade ago. Many of these products are using unlicensed IP from Lynk. Factory direct from China via online retailers and local sales channels is making even the largest of lighting companies wonder what the future holds. A major asset that helps battle such challenges in disruptive markets like SSL is to effectively leverage IP as has been demonstrated by major players like Phillips, Seoul Semiconductor, Nichia, and Cree.  Although Lynk is only a fraction of their size, our patented technologies appear to be as broad reaching, enabling and impacting the success of the LED industry. Lynk IP is being used today in some of the highest volume applications including LED fluorescent replacement tubes, PL lamps, MR lamps, A-lamps and other lamps, down lights, track systems, pendants, drivers, Driver on Board "DoB" modules and much more.  Lynk has invested a substantial amount of capital building out its patent assets over the years with no intent to make them available for free. My goal is to ensure we work with the industry towards a proactive and mutually beneficial outcome," said Paul.           

The business of patent licensing can be a very lucrative one as proven by various companies in diverse industries such as Philips licensing into the LED lighting market and Qualcom licensing into the communications market. High licensing revenues resulting from very low overhead costs allow for extremely healthy bottom line ROI's if done right. 

"Today, Lynk Labs' core business has primarily centered around supplying its technology in the form of LED components and drivers to Lighting OEMs. However, since Lynks' patents reach far beyond its current revenue source (having IP at the system level, and components within including packages, modules, and drivers), there is a substantial amount of untapped revenue opportunity for the company. The operating company portion of our business returns a healthy EBITDA of about 15%, however when we factor in licensing revenue our EBITDA jumps to over 60%. With these types of gains, it's obvious that our IP assets should be tightly managed as an independent revenue source that can deliver high growth and returns via a comprehensive licensing program. We've been building our company and patent portfolio over the past 15 years to create technology solutions that have enabled the evolution of the LED lighting market as well as simplify the integration of LED technology into the existing lighting infrastructure. With almost 60 pending and issued patents in our portfolio, we have an obligation to act and protect our shareholders, and licensing partners. Our technology and IP is now established and being used in a high growth, valuable share of the market so the IP must be respected and treated fairly in return for the financial gains it's delivering to its users, many of which will need a license to continue its use," said Mike.

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