Osram targets Samsung and LG with LED patent litigation

Osram, the Germany-based lighting manufacturer, has filed LED patent infringement lawsuits against two rival Korea-based LED makers and consumer-electronics giants, Samsung and LG.

Osram says that it has filed legal actions against Samsung group companies and LG group companies in the US and Germany, as well as against an LG group company in Japan. Osram also intends to file a suit against LG in China.

Osram claims that Samsung and LG group companies infringe its patents on white LEDs and surface-mountable LEDs in the US, Germany and, as far as LG is concerned, in Japan and China.

“Our objective in taking legal actions against Samsung and LG group companies is to prevent unauthorized use of our valuable technology,” stated Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors. "We have a considerable number of patents which we developed in the course of many years of intensive research and development work.

The legal actions focus on LEDs using technologies protected by Osram patents, claims the company. These technologies relate to electrical and thermal connection structures as well as to phosphor-based conversion technology used to make white LEDs.

Both Samsung and LG are leading LED manufacturers. For 2010, Strategies Unlimited’s ranking of leading LED manufacturers placed Samsung LED as #2 and LG Innotek as #6 equal, while Osram Opto Semiconductors was ranked #3. White LEDs are used extensively for display backlighting for TV sets and monitors, both of which are product categories that are also manufactured by Samsung and LG.

Since a number of LED makers have signed royalty-bearing licenses to use Osram’s patents on conversion technology, it is reasonable to assume that this option was offered to Samsung and LG before the legal actions were initiated.

“Major competitors such as Philips/Lumileds, Cree, and Nichia have acknowledged our strong IP position by entering into cross-license agreements with Osram,” said Kamper.

Osram says that it intends to prevent unauthorized use of its technology, and is seeking orders from the courts to prevent Samsung and LG from importing and selling infringing LEDs and products containing these LEDs, such as LED-backlit TV sets and computer monitors. In addition, Osram is applying for compensation.

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