IP thieves beware, warns Lumileds

Feb. 11, 2005
Lumileds has issued a patent advisory relating to IP it holds in the area of mirror substrate LEDs.
Patent issues are still able to create a stir in the LED industry. Coinciding with advance notice of a new, redesigned Luxeon product, Lumileds also issued a press release announcing that it would later this month issue an LED patent advisory to the solid-state lighting industry.

The advisory will relate to intellectual property covering the manufacture and assembly of "mirror substrate" LEDs.

Lumileds says that the action is in response to reports that certain die manufacturers and LED packagers are violating Lumileds' patents.

A Lumileds spokesperson was unwilling to clarify the precise meaning of "mirror substrate" except to say that the terminology had been carefully chosen to avoid implicating any specific company - at this stage.

Essentially, the advisory is a warning to companies that Lumileds intends to flex its muscles and protect its IP which has been built up over a number of years at HP, Agilent and Lumileds itself.

The statement pointed out that users and manufacturers of LEDs have a responsibility to avoid infringement of Lumileds' patents, and requested that package manufacturers and resellers should investigate whether their mirror substrate LEDs use Lumileds' patented technology.

Lumileds has licensing agreements with two Taiwanese LED manufacturers, Epistar and United Epitaxy Company (UEC), which were established after lengthy lawsuits.

The term "mirror substrate" usually refers to a reflective layer between the substrate and the LED device layers. Light emitted by the device in a downwards direction is redirected by the reflective layer towards the top surface, preventing loss and enhancing brightness. Usually, the reflective layer is inserted into the device by a wafer-bonding process.