Lumileds hopes for exclusion of infringing Epistar LEDs

An ITC judge has recommended the exclusion from the U.S. of Epistar's infringing LEDs and downstream products.

Philips Lumileds has issued further information in its patent dispute with Taiwan-based rival Epistar concerning AlGaInP LEDs – see Philips Lumileds wins LED patent ruling against Epistar (Jan 2007).

On January 11, Administrative Law Judge Harris of the International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended that Epistar's infringing LED chips, along with certain products incorporating those infringing chips, should be the subject of a limited exclusion order.

If the ITC adopts Judge Harris' recommendation, Epistar and others will be prevented from importing those infringing LED chips, packaged LEDs, and boards containing the packaged LEDs, into the United States.

Philips Lumileds intends to ask the Commission to exclude additional downstream products, such as traffic signals and automotive brake light assemblies that include the infringing LEDs.

This recommendation follows from Judge Harris' January 8 Initial Determination that Philips Lumileds asserted patents are valid, enforceable, and are not licensed by Epistar.

The Initial Determination also found that Epistar's metal bond (MB) and MB II products infringe Philips Lumileds' U.S. Patent no. 5,008,718 ("the 718 Patent"). Epistar's OMA and GB LEDs were not found to be in infringement, but Philips Lumileds remains confident that these devices will also be excluded by the ITC.

In his Initial Determination, Judge Harris found that Epistar's OMA, OMA II, GB, and GB II LEDs include the current-spreading "transparent window layer" that laterally spreads the current away from the metal contact and that this is the "critical feature of the claimed invention" of the 718 Patent.

Based primarily on an unduly restrictive interpretation of a single word of one claim of the patent, the Judge did not find infringement of the 718 patent by the OMA and GB products. Thus, Lumileds intends to petition the Commission to adopt an interpretation consistent with the broad scope of the invention of the 718 Patent that covers not only Epistar's MB, but also the OMA and GB LEDs.

Philips Lumileds similarly intends to petition the Commission to adopt a broader interpretation of the claims of its wafer bonding patents (US Patent Nos. 5,376,580 and 5,502,316) that cover Epistar's OMA, MB and GB products. Based on these petitions, Philips Lumileds is seeking an exclusion order against Epistar's MB, OMA and GB LEDs as well as downstream products including these LEDs. The Commission is expected to complete the investigation on or before May 8, 2007.

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