Professor settles with Mitsubishi in LED/LD patent dispute

Nov. 8, 2009
Date Announced: 08 Nov 2009 Professor Gertrude Neumark Rothschild has reached a settlement with Mitsubishi Corp. regarding her assertion that the company and dozens of other major electronics manufacturers in Asia and Europe violated her patents for producing light emitting diodes and laser diodes in products, such as video players that are used for Sony's Blu-ray format, Motorola Razr phones and Hitachi camcorders, backlighting for computers, as well as street lighting and optical storage of information. Mitsubishi is the latest company to reach a global settlement with Rothschild, a professor emeritus at Columbia University. Others who have settled include BenQ, Dalien Lumei, Epistar Corp., FOREPI, Guangzhou Hongli, Hitachi, Hugo Optotech, LG, Motorola, Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electro Mechanics, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo Electric, Sewa Electric, Sharp Corp., Shenzhen Unilight, Showa Denko, Sony Corp., and Sony Ericcson. Earlier settlements were made with Nichia Chemical and Koninklijke Philips Electronics, which included Philips Lumilid Lighting Co. and Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd. Terms of the Mitsubishi agreement are confidential, according to Rothschild's attorney, Albert Jacobs Jr. of Troutman Sanders LLP. However, the aggregate received from her settlements and licenses - which now have been concluded with more than 40 companies - amounts to over $27 million, Jacobs said. "Dr. Rothschild made a seminal breakthrough in the production of LEDs and LDs, especially the blue, violet and ultraviolet LEDs that are essential to a wide variety of consumer electronics products today," said Jacobs. "She richly deserves both scientific as well as commercial recognition for her work." Professor Rothschild, who is the sole owner of U.S. Patent Number 5,252,499, as well as the recently expired `618 patent and foreign patents related thereto, is currently Howe Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering at Columbia. She conducted ground-breaking research in the 1980s and 1990s into the electrical and optical properties of so-called wide band-gap semiconductors.This research has proven pivotal in the development of short-wavelength emitting (blue and violet) diodes that are now widely used in consumer electronics. She was issued two U.S. patents in the early 1990s that cover methods of producing wide band-gap semiconductors for LEDs and LDs. Such LEDs and LDs have become increasingly popular in a variety of devices as a superior lighting source because of their reduced power consumption, greater reliability, longevity and greater storage capacity. Recognized by the American Physical Society as a Notable Woman Physicist in 1998, Professor Rothschild was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982. Professor Rothschild began her research career in private industry, working with Sylvania Research Laboratories in Bayside, N.Y., in the 1950s, and later at Philips Laboratories in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. She joined the faculty at Columbia University as a Professor of Materials Science in 1985. In 2008, she was selected as a recipient of Barnard College's Distinguished Alumna Award. She has published approximately 90 research articles and given 28 invited talkssince 1980.

Troutman Sanders LLP Albert L. Jacobs Jr., 212-704-6086

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