In brief: Texas bans lighting designers, Lumileds and Epistar disagree

June 1, 2009
The US lighting design community seems to have averted a ban on unlicensed lighting designers in Texas, while Lumileds and Epistar have both claimed success in a patent dispute.
Texas outlaws lighting designers

The lighting design community in the United States was understandably agitated to hear that Texas had approved legislation to effectively prevent lighting designers from practising their art. The Texas State Legislature passed a Bill on May 27, 2009, which included the statement, “A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless that person is: licensed as an engineer under this chapter; registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer….”

This language was, apparently, included in the Bill because an influential client with links to government staff had had a bad experience with a lighting designer.

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) issued a statement and, along with the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), mobilized its members to lobby the Texas Senator concerned. This was successful within days, and instead the Bill requested a study to look at the feasibility of licensing in the industry (see IALD news).

"The IALD is extremely pleased that the combined grassroots efforts organized by the architectural and theatrical lighting design communities have paid off," IALD President Jeff Miller stated.

Lumileds and Epistar both win patent case

US-based Philips Lumileds and Epistar, a rival LED maker based in Taiwan, have both claimed success in a dispute between the two companies relating to AlGaInP LEDs. A decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) was appealed by Epistar, and a ruling was issued on May 22.

The press releases issued by Philips Lumileds and Epistar both put different interpretations on the outcome.

The appeals court cancelled a Limited Exclusion Order preventing certain Epistar products from being imported to the US, and remanded the case to the ITC for reconsideration. Epistar believes it can prove that certain of its products do not infringe Philips' US patent no. 5,008,718, which will expire on December 18, 2009. Lumileds disagrees, and both companies say they are still confident of success.

Here's how the Green Patent Blog discussed the ongoing disagreement between the companies.