ilumisys grants IP licenses for LED fluorescent tube replacements

Two Illinois-based lighting manufacturers have licensed ilumysis' patents to enable them to make LED replacement lamps.

ilumisys, Inc. has granted a license for patents on its LED-based fluorescent tube replacement to LED Lighting, Inc., of Northbrook, Illinois (see press release). In late August, ilumysis granted a license to Light Emitting Designs of North Barrington, Illinois (see press release).

Both licensing agreements provide for royalty payments to be made on a per-unit basis in exchange for rights to manufacture and sell products covered by Altair’s patent portfolio.

Formed in 2007, ilumisys is a spinoff of Altair, a global software and technology company. ilumisys has filed more than 30 patent applications in this area to date. At the heart of its strong IP position are two initial patents granted in the US.

According to ilumisys President Dave Simon, the growth in LED lighting leaves room for a lot of providers with different areas of focus. "By giving licensees access to our expanding patent portfolio we believe that both product development and installation rates will move faster,” he said.

The licensing program is relatively new, and the company has also been involved in litigation to protect its IP position, said Simon; some litigation is still open and some has been settled in favor of ilumysis.

ilumysis is focused on developing higher-end products for mass-market adoption, rather than trying to maximize sales at the present time. “Our licensing program will allow companies to provide products to the market, while enabling ilumisys to continue our R&D efforts aimed at what will be required for truly large-scale adoption over the next few years,” said Simon.

One aspect is that manufacturing issues will be significantly different when these replacement tubes are supplied in their millions. "Some things will need to change," says Simon. "For example, with current designs, huge quantities of aluminum will be required for heat-sinking, affecting the overall carbon footprint." Ilumysis is collaborating on a project with the US National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) to look at some of these issues.

The 500 million to 600 million fluorescent tubes discarded annually in the United States introduce an estimated two to four tons of mercury to the environment, despite industry and government efforts to limit mercury content and encourage recycling.

“LED Lighting has had the privilege of being an ilumisys channel partner and participating in the development stages of ilumisys T-8 replacement lamps,” said Bill Hood, CEO and founder of LED Lighting, Inc. “This licensing agreement extends and strengthens our relationship with ilumisys, giving us the ability to offer both premium and value-engineered products to our customers under the LED Lighting brand.”

Tim Taylor, CEO of Light Emitting Designs, said, “The market for LED tube retrofits is significant and pegged for huge growth in 2010 and 2011. We are pleased to have secured that future growth by being a licensed provider.”

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