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5 August 2008


Korean IP tribunal rules Nichia’s patent lacks novelty

Korea’s Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd is claiming victory against rival Japanese LED maker Nichia Corp in a patent invalidation proceeding filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Tribunal (KIPT). On 23 July, KIPT ruled that Nichia’s Korea patent number 406201, which had been asserted in an infringement lawsuit against certain Seoul products, has been invalidated for lack of novelty. Based on the ruling, Seoul believes that it cannot infringe Nichia’s patent.

Seoul also contends that its technology is different from Nichia’s now-invalidated patent. A counterpart of this patent was also asserted against Seoul by Nichia in the UK in May. With the KIPT’s ruling, Seoul believes that the Nichia patent invalidation will have a very positive effect in the UK for Seoul and its distributors such as Avnet EMG Ltd.

Previously, in the USA, Seoul submitted a request to the ITC (International Trade Commission) to prohibit importation of Nichia’s laser diode into the US market, claiming that Nichia infringed Seoul’s patent. Subsequently, in January, the ITC granted Seoul's request for an investigation into possible patent infringement by Nichia. The ITC is expected to render its decision in early 2009. Seoul also has additional patent infringement actions in the USA and other countries claiming infringement by Nichia’s LED, ultraviolet (UV) LED, and laser diode (LD) products.

Seoul Semiconductor says that it respects intellectual property rights of other companies and expects others to do the same. The firm maintains about 1600 patents and over 300 patents that relate to fundamental technology in the field of LEDs.

See related items:

Seoul refutes Nichia’s German patent infringement allegation

Nichia files German patent lawsuit against Seoul Semiconductor’s Acriche products

Korean IP tribunal rules Seoul Semi LED design invalid

US court rejects Nichia’s $2.5m claim for fees against Seoul

Nichia files UK lawsuit against Seoul’s Acriche products

Nichia sues Japan Seoul Semiconductor over white LEDs for keypads, indicators

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