LED patent case between Nichia and Seoul moves to trial

A jury will decide on Nichia's claim that LEDs manufactured by Seoul Semiconductor infringe various US design patents.

A claim by Nichia that the 902 LED manufactured by its rival Seoul Semiconductor infringes four US deisgn patents is set to move to trial on September 10.

Both parties had filed for summary judgments in the case. Judge Chesney from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued her rulings on August 22, 2007, and dismissed Nichia's claim of indirect induced infringement by Seoul.

However, Judge Chesney said that a trial was required to determine an issue of fact as to whether the design of the series 902 LEDs was substantially similar to any of the claimed designs.

A jury will decide whether distinctions between the 902 LEDs and the Nichia design are insignificant, as Nichia claims, or significant (and therefore not covered by the patents), as Seoul will assert.

Nichia filed the suit in January 2006 against Seoul and also against Creative Technology, which uses Seoul Semiconductor's LEDs to backlight the LCD screens in its MP3 player (see Nichia asserts design patents against Seoul Semiconductor).

Seoul filed a counterclaim in May 2006, and Creative Technology settled its dispute with Nichia in November last year.

The issue of indirect infringement related to the sale in the US of products containing 902 LEDs by a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. The Judge ruled there was insufficient evidence that Seoul assisted these sales. However, several other summary judgments were awarded in favor of Nichia.

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