Cree and Nichia announces white LED cross-licensing

Two leading LED manufacturers have extended their patent agreements to cover white LED products. Meanwhile, back in the lab, Cree has broken the 100 lm/W barrier for white LEDs.

Cree has entered into a patent cross-license agreement with Nichia relating to LED technology for solid-state white lighting. The agreement allows Cree to access Nichia's patents in this area, while at the same time helping both companies to consolidate their position and fend off competition.

The new agreement complements the patent cross license arrangement between the companies announced in November 2002 . Detailed terms of the latest agreement were not disclosed.

"Nichia has developed pioneering technology in the field of LED-based white lighting and this agreement gives Cree access to this important technology," said Chuck Swoboda, Cree's president and CEO.

"At the same time, the agreement recognizes the strength of Cree's intellectual property and reinforces both companies' leadership in solid-state lighting."

"Both companies have pioneering patents," said Mr Tazaki, executive vice-president at Nichia. "We respect Cree's intellectual properties, and Cree respects ours too."

"Our market is getting more competitive, and we continue to launch new products utilizing our expertise," continued Mr Tazaki.

Back in 2002, Cree and Nichia signed a cross-licensing agreement designed to end their long-running legal battle and prevent future litigation. This came at the end of a year in which Nichia also signed agreements with Osram Opto, Lumileds and Toyoda Gosei.

Cree tops 100 lm/W mark in the lab

The license agreement with Nichia overshadowed other important news from Cree, announced at the Strategies in Light conference.

The company has achieved some significant development results in the lab for its standard and high-power white LEDs.

Firstly, Cree has demonstrated 100 lumens per watt and 50 percent wall-plug efficiency from a white LED operating at 20 mA in a standard 5 mm package.

Also, a maximum luminous flux of 60 lumens has been demonstrated from Cree's 7090 series white XLamp(TM) power LEDs operating at 350 mA.

"We are demonstrating significant levels of brightness and efficiencies from both standard and power LEDs," said Chris James, Cree Lighting marketing manager.

"White LEDs are on a critical path toward significantly reducing energy costs for lighting throughout the world. Although there is significant development work to be done, I believe the LED industry is advancing toward replacing the light bulb at a more rapid pace than just a few years ago."

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