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7 January 2008


Seoul counter-sues Nichia for defamation

South Korean LED maker Seoul Semiconductor has filed a defamation lawsuit in the Seoul Central District Court alleging false and misrepresenting statements and libel by Japanese rival Nichia Corp which are not at the heart of the firms’ US design patent dispute.

In January 2006, Nichia filed a lawsuit in the US District Court, Northern District of California, alleging that Seoul Semiconductor’s 902 series side-view LEDs (which are mostly used for liquid-crystal display backlight units in mobile phones etc ) infringed its US design patents D491,538, D490,784, D499,385 and D503,388 . Nichia says that, on 8 November 2007, the jury rendered a verdict stating that Seoul Semiconductor willfully infringed the four US design rights.

As examples of false statements that Nichia has allegedly made, Seoul Semiconductor cites the following:

  • that $250 was award in damages rather than $62;
  • that the injunction will ban the sale of 902 LEDs and any other Seoul products that infringes Nichia’s patents.

Seoul Semiconductor says that last year it sent a courtesy letter to Nichia giving it an opportunity to correct the false statements. However, Nichia instead replied in late December by filing a defamation lawsuit against Seoul Semiconductor in the Seoul Central District Court alleging distribution of false statements, including stating on its home page that ‘Seoul Semiconductor has substantially prevailed in the litigation’ and that the products at issue are ‘actually non-infringing’. Nichia is seeking compensation of KRW500m in damages, as well as remedies necessary for the restoration of its reputation. Nichia expects the court to enter a judgment, based on the jury verdict, later this month.

In response, in its counter-suit for defamation, Seoul is seeking compensation of KRW0.5bn (about $531,000) for damages. The firm also says that it will take any necessary steps to prevent Nichia from further distorting the truth.

See related item:

Nichia sues Seoul Semiconductor for defamation

Seoul files ITC complaint against Nichia for GaN laser patent infringement

Jury affirms infringement of Nichia patents, but Seoul counter-sues

Nichia files second Korean patent lawsuit against Seoul Semi

Nichia expands patent cross-license with Cree; files white LED patent lawsuit against Seoul in Korea

Seoul signs LED patent cross-license agreement with Osram; Nichia lawsuit dismissed in US

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