Osram, Nichia file more white LED patent lawsuits

May 25, 2006
Osram Opto Semiconductors has filed a patent infringement action against Taiwanese rival Kingbright, while Nichia has filed against a German company Moeller Electric.
Osram Opto sues Kingbright

Osram Opto Semiconductors has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the Taiwan-based LED manufacturer Kingbright Electronic, as well as its German subsidiary Kingbright Europe GmbH, in Dusseldorf Regional Court, Germany.

Osram claims that Kingbright is infringing a number of its patents relating to white LEDs and surface-mount devices, with particular emphasis on patents that cover the use of phosphor down-conversion technology used in the manufacture of white LEDs.

Significantly, Kingbright recently signed an agreement to license phosphor conversion material from US company Intematix, and another agreement to license a white LED patent from Cree (see Related Stories, right).

In relation to the latter agreement, LEDs Magazine wrote that "Kingbright's license with Cree does not protect Kingbright from claims of infringement by other patent owners."

In the most recent dispute, Osram has stressed this point, stating "Kingbright has already taken licences from other players in the LED market like the US-based company Intematix. This shows that taking a license from those companies does not automatically avoid infringement of Osram patents."

As well as licensing its white LED technology to other companies, Osram has used its patents to file lawsuits against its rivals, notably Malaysia-based Dominant (see Related Stories, right).

Osram intends to obtain a restraining order against Kingbright and is applying for compensation. As part of the suit, Osram hopes that Kingbright will be prevented from importing numerous LEDs and Kingbright products containing these LEDs to Germany. Action was similarly taken against a distributor D. Schuricht GmbH & Co. KG, Bremen, who is selling such Kingbright LEDs in Germany.

"Our objective in taking legal action against Kingbright is to prevent unauthorised use of our technology,” stated Ruediger Mueller, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors, adding that Osram plans to continue to take appropriate worldwide actions towards other LED manufacturers to safeguard its intellectual property rights.

Nichia sues Moeller Electric

Nichia has filed a lawsuit in Osaka District Court against Moeller Electric Ltd (Japan), the Japanese subsidiary of Moeller GmbH in Germany. The suit seeks damages for past infringement of Nichia's LED patents as well as an injunction against any further infringing activity.

Nichia says that it warned Moeller in August 2005 about their possible infringement of Nichia patents in August 2005, without response.

Therefore, Nichia has filed a lawsuit alleging that blue LEDs (Type No. M22-LED-B) sold by Moeller infringes Nichia’s patents (No. 2770717, No.3356034, No.3656456), and demanding that Moeller cease the infringing activities.

Ominously echoing Osram's words, Nichia says that it "will take necessary measure to protect its intellectual property rights against any infringing companies in any part of the world."