911EP files patent suit over LED emergency lights
A manufacturer of LED light bars for police vehicles claims its rivals are infringing its IP.
The lawsuit alleges that four companies -- Whelen Engineering Company, Inc., Federal Signal Corporation, Code 3, Inc. and Tomar Electronics, Inc. -- have infringed 911EP's patents for emergency and warning LED light products by making, using, selling and offering to sell LED lighting products covered by one or more of 911EP's patents. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, Texas.
911EP says that it was the first company in the industry to invent emergency lighting products based upon LEDs and received a series of patents for its developments. LEDs use much less power and last many times longer than conventional incandescent, halogen or strobe lights. This technology can be readily microprocessor-controlled to produce any of a series of lighting patterns.
Since 911EP introduced the first LED emergency lighting products in the mid 1990s, LED lighting products have grown to where they now constitute a majority of the new products introduced in the emergency and warning light markets.
"We have invested considerable resources and effort in developing these technologies and the patent system exists to protect the rights that accompany these innovations," said Charles Ricci, General Manager of 911EP. "We hope to resolve this issue amicably but will take the necessary steps to protect the intellectual property that we have developed."
Located in St. Cloud, Minnesota, 911EP, a manufacturer of emergency lighting products for law enforcement, military and security markets, was acquired in October 2002 by Armor Holdings, Inc.
The 911EP patented technology consumes up to 70 percent less energy than the traditional strobe or halogen systems through the use of the vehicle's existing 12-volt system -- no additional power supply is needed. The lighting solutions created by 911EP are extremely durable, bright and cool running with an illumination lifetime measured in years, not months. A series of different light patterns can be readily created, allowing the police officer or other user to select the most appropriate light pattern for each specific situation. Given the 911EP solid-state design -- no moving parts that might wear out or break down, no internal wiring that could break or be cut -- these products are the clear choice in emergency lighting solutions.