Neo-Neon refutes iLight Technologies patent lawsuit (updated)

April 1, 2006
Neo-Neon has refuted claims that it has infringed iLight Technologies' patents, but iLight insists its case is valid.
Neo-Neon Holding Company Limited, a Chinese LED lighting manufacturer, has refuted claims that it has copied technology owned by iLight Technologies.

Last week, iLight Technologies announced that it had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Tivoli Lighting, a joint venture between Targetti North America and Neo-Neon (see iLight Technologies sues two rivals in LED patent cases).

Although Neo-Neon thinks there is no case for infringement, iLight Technologies says that it "will pursue Tivoli to the fullest extent legally possible."

The lawsuit alleges infringement of several patents related to Plexineon®, an award-winning LED lighting technology developed by iLight Technologies in 2000.

Neo-Neon contacted LEDs Magazine to explain that it believes its LED Neon Flex product is covered by a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent application (20050036310) was filed in April 2004.

Documentation supplied by Neon-Neon indicates that this application is now allowed for issuance as a patent. As well as this new US patent, Neo-Neon says that its LED Neon Flex is also covered by patents in most countries of the world.

Neo-Neon says that it uses an extrusion method with a special combination of LED and PVC to manufacture LED Neon Flex, and has used similar technology for more than 20 years. Neo-Neon also says that iLight Technologies first makes a channel housing, and then puts LEDs inside with an acrylic rod on top. Therefore, says Neo-Neon, the iLight product is more rigid rather than being flexible like LED Neon Flex.

Neo-Neon says that its latest patent is just an improved version of numerous previous patents owned by Neo-Neon. "We're 100% sure that there is no case for infringement in the case filed by iLight Technologies," said a Neo-Neon spokesperson.

iLight believes its case is valid

iLight Technologies was quick to respond to Neo-Neon's comments and sent a statement to LEDs Magazine. iLight Technologies' president and CEO Susan Larson said, “iLight does not take filing a lawsuit lightly. Our executive staff, board, and patent attorneys have good reason to believe that our patent rights are violated and that we can stop Tivoli Lighting from selling infringing product.” A separate action has been taken by iLight against Fallon Luminous Products.

iLight Technologies' statement says that the 2005 patent referred to by Neo-Neon is for something very different than the patent rights claimed by iLight in this case. NeoNeon’s flexible LED product, currently sold on the market through Tivoli and other Neo-Neon distributors, violates iLight’s patents for its Plexineon technology, according to iLight.

iLight Technologies' statement continues, "The fact that NeoNeon has a patent of its own has absolutely no relevance to the issue of whether their products infringe iLight’s patents. iLight Technologies’ Plexineon® patents date back as early as 2001, predating any claims in Neo-Neon's patent. The Plexineon technology, whether made into straight lengths, curves, or mitered corner pieces, is all covered under the Plexineon patent."

Susan Larson adds, "iLight fully intends to defend its intellectual property and will pursue Tivoli to the fullest extent legally possible. The court will decide this case based on legal facts and not on what Tivoli or Neo-Neon 'believes'."