Nichia files US patent lawsuit against Seoul Semiconductor

Nichia has filed yet another lawsuit that accuses Seoul Semiconductor's Acriche products of infringing its patents. Seoul says there is no infringement and that Nichia is misuing the legal process.

The battle between Japanese LED maker Nichia and its Korean rival Seoul Semiconductor continues. On August 18, 2008, Nichia filed a patent infringement suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The complaint against Seoul Semiconductor Co. Ltd, its U.S. subsidiary Seoul Semiconductor Inc. and its U.S. distributor Avnet Inc, seeks an injunction from future infringements and an award of damages.

The lawsuit is once again targeting Seoul's Acriche product. Nichia alleges that LEDs incorporated in SSC's LED products such as Acriche products infringe upon Nichia's U.S. Patent No. 6,870,191.

Nichia has also filed infringement lawsuits in the U.S., Japan, Korea, the U.K and Germany against Seoul Semiconductor and/or its subsidiaries. You can view the list of those initiated by Nichia on the company's website.

Seoul Semiconductor responding quickly, saying it is "confident that the latest lawsuit by Nichia lacks merit" and that it plans to "vigorously defend" the claims.

After reviewing Nichia's '191 patent, Seoul says that it believes that Nichia's lawsuit lacks merit. Seoul says the patent describes an LED substrate that is patterned with a protruded and recessed trapezoid, which is different from Seoul's products.

Seoul's press release quotes a federal judge in a separate California lawsuit, who denied Nichia's motions for an injunction and attorney's fees against Seoul. The judge noted that Nichia seemed to be using lawsuits "attempting to obtain some unstated ancillary advantage over [Seoul] in Asia." Seoul believes that Nichia's latest lawsuit is a similar misuse of the legal process.

Currently, Seoul and Nichia are engaged in twelve lawsuits throughout the world. Recently, Seoul was successful in invalidating in Korea one of Nichia's core LED patents for lack of novelty. In this latest Michigan lawsuit, Seoul will also seek to invalidate Nichia's '191 patent based on prior art.

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