Seoul Semiconductor comments on Nichia’s lawsuit in Japan

May 19, 2007
Nichia's patent infringement lawsuit against Seoul Semiconductor has provoked comments from the defendant.
On May 17, LEDs Magazine published news from Nichia stating that the Japanese LED maker had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Seoul Semiconductor's subsidiary in Japan and its distributor, Kyoei Sangyo Co., Ltd. LEDs Magazine has now received a comment on the lawsuit from Seoul Semiconductor.

"Last month, Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd. was informed by Kyoei Sangyo Co., Ltd. that Kyoei Sangyo received a warning letter from Nichia Corporation for the alleged infringement of Nichia's Japanese patent. This relates to blue chips used in Seoul's 0.5W P9 product. Nichia’s patent is registered only in Japan.

"Seoul Semiconductor asked Cree to verify the fact that Seoul Semiconductor uses Cree’s chips in its P9 product. These chips are covered by the cross-license agreement between Cree and Nichia.

"After investigation by Seoul Semiconductor and Cree, it was found that a total of 670 pieces have been provided to Kyoei Sangyo as samples and mass-produced products. Of these 670 pieces, 70 used chips from SemiLEDs Corporation.

"Cree notified Seoul Semiconductor that Cree would relay the above to Nichia and that Cree believes this situation will be readily resolved.

"Before Cree provided blue chips for Seoul's 0.5W P9 products, SemiLEDs’ chips were reviewed and used as samples. However, Seoul Semiconductor currently provides only Cree chips in products for the Japanese market.

"Seoul Semiconductor will make further investigations of this issue. Nevertheless Seoul Semiconductor has no intent to dispute with Nichia regarding this issue, regardless of Nichia’s patent infringement allegation.

"Patents should be respected. But companies should not use patents for their improper sales and marketing purpose in business activities.

"With respect to Nichia’s current pending U.S. lawsuit on Patented Design against Seoul Semiconductor, Nichia’s U.S. Patented Design is the same one that was invalidated in Korea on December 2006."