Korean court finds that Seoul Semiconductor defamed Nichia

Sept. 5, 2008
Seoul Semiconductor has had its knuckles rapped after claiming to have prevailed in a patent lawsuit against Nichia, when a jury had in fact ruled in favor of Nichia.
In a ruling in late August, Seoul Central District Court has decided that Seoul Semiconductor Co, Ltd was guilty of defamation of its bitter rival, Nichia.

The court ordered Seoul Semiconductor to pay Nichia a damages amount of KRW 10,000,000 (about $9250), as well as to take "appropriate corrective measures to restore Nichia’s reputation," according to Nichia's.

The Korean lawsuit arose following the conclusion of a US patent infringement lawsuit that Nichia had brought against Seoul Semiconductor. Despite the jury’s finding that Seoul Semiconductor had willfully infringed four design patents owned by Nichia, Seoul Semiconductor disseminated the statements that “Seoul Semiconductor has substantially prevailed in the litigation” and that the products at issue are “actually non-infringing.”

LEDs Magazine covered the story and queried Seoul's comments – see Nichia and Seoul offer different views of jury ruling and COMMENTARY: Patents - One verdict, two outcomes.

“We are pleased that the Korean Court rendered a fair judgment against such clearly false statements.” said Katsuyuki Akutagawa, the Chief Legal and IP Officer of Nichia Corporation.

In January 2006, Nichia had filed the design patent infringement action against Seoul Semiconductor in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The jury verdict was rendered on November 8, 2008, finding Seoul Semiconductor’s willful infringement of four design patents of Nichia Corporation, as well as finding that the four design patents were “valid.” The Final Judgment by the Court affirming the jury verdict was entered on February 7, 2008.

Nichia filed the Korean lawsuit on December 28, 2007, alleging that Seoul Semiconductor had damaged Nichia’s reputation by distributing false statements to the press in connection with the jury verdict.