ITC investigates Nichia after Seoul laser complaint

Jan. 9, 2008
A complaint filed by Seoul Semiconductor against Nichia is to be investigated by the International Trade Commission.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is to investigate Seoul Semiconductor's complaint against Nichia relating to short-wavelength lasers – view the ITC announcement.

The complaint was filed by Seoul Semiconductor in early December 2007 – see news story.

Nichia and Seoul are currently involved in a multi-faceted LED patent dispute that was recently expanded by the filing of tit-for-tat defamation lawsuits.

*** Company press release – not edited ***

On January 4, 2008, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced that it voted to institute an investigation of Nichia Corporation's short wavelength semiconductor lasers that are alleged to infringe certain patent rights of Seoul Semiconductor. (See ITC’s announcement)

By this decision, ITC will investigate the importation and sales into the United States of Nichia’s short wavelength semiconductor lasers and Nichia consumer electronic products containing those devices that infringe Seoul Semiconductor's U.S. Patent no. 5,321,713 ('713 patent). (For instance, Nichia’s 405 nm laser diode, mainly used in medical high definition DVDs and Blu-ray players).

If Nichia is found in violation of the ITC's statute that prohibits unfair competition based on patent infringement, the ITC is authorized to exclude from further importation into the United States infringing Nichia short wavelength laser semiconductors and its products containing those infringing devices.

The case will be referred to the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC remedial orders are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons within that 60-day period.

Seoul Semiconductor has invested more than $10 million in research and development of laser diode and LED related technologies by U.S. based universities and companies. Due to its investments, Seoul Semiconductor has obtained rights to numerous laser diode and LED related patents. These patents, including the '713 patent, complement Seoul's already robust patent portfolio, which includes over 1,000 patents.

This ITC’s decision of investigation is significantly meaningful in the laser diode industry as well as [to] Seoul Semiconductor and allows Seoul Semiconductor to prove all their research efforts pertaining to laser diode.