Nichia Files Lawsuit Against Seoul Semiconductor, Again

On May 1, 2008 Nichia filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court against Japan Seoul Semiconductor, the Japanese subsidiary of Seoul Semiconductor, a LED manufacturer headquartered in South Korea.

Nichia has been very aggressive in trying to protect its intellectual properties. And so has Seoul Semiconductor. Nichia has already filed a previous suit in the Osaka District Court in May 2007. The suit alleges that Seoul Semiconductor’s 0.5w Z-Power LED P9 series white LEDs infringe Nichia’s Japanese patents 3511970 and 2778349 relating to GaN-based blue LED chips.

The latest complaint alleges that white LED products sold by Seoul Semiconductor of Japan infringe Nichia’s Japanese patent (3900144), which relates to the production of a phosphor material and light-emitting device such as a blue LED chip. The patent is applicable to white LEDs used in keypads and indicators, but does not cover side-view LEDs used mobile phone LCD panel backlights.

Seoul Semiconductor of Japan Alleged Infringing White LED Products:

  • BW104-S
  • WH104
  • WH104-C
  • TWH104-H
  • MPW104-F1
  • WH107
  • WH201
  • WH601
  • WH108-S
  • WH108
  • FCW100
  • FCW100Z
  • FCW101Z
  • WH1222

Nichia is also seeking monetary compensation for damages from past infringement as well as an injunction against any further infringing activity. Patent infringement lawsuits filed by Nichia against Seoul Semiconductor are also in progress in the US and Korea.

Nichia and Seoul Semiconductor has been extremely busy. Back in January 2008, Nichia sued Seoul Semiconductor seeking KRW500 million (US$540,000) in compensation for damages for defamation. Just a few days later, Seoul Semiconductor counter-sued alleging false and misrepresenting statements and libel by Nichia. Not only that, in December 2007, Seoul Semiconductor filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Nichia engaged in unfair trade practices by importing GaN-based laser diode products that infringe its US patent (5,321,713). And on it goes.

LED is turning out to be a gigantic market. The stakes are very high and everyone wants to win. A cross-licensing pact between Nichia and Seoul Semiconductor might serve the two better as well as the customers participating in the supply chain and finally the end consumer. Currently, the only ones who are getting rich from all of these lawsuits are the lawyers.

Source: Semiconductor Today

[tags]Seoul Semiconductor, Nichia, LED, Gallium Nitride, Blue LED Chip, LED Phosphor[/tags]

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