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13 January 2015

Cree files US lawsuits against Feit and Unity Opto alleging infringement of ten LED lighting patents

LED maker Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA has filed complaints with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Feit Electric Company Inc and its Asian supplier Unity Opto Technology Co Ltd in order to curb what Cree claims is infringement on its patented technologies and to address Feit’s false and misleading advertising claims that certain of its products meet ENERGY STAR specifications. The suits allege infringement of 10 patents related to LED lighting.

“Cree fully supports competition, but it should be fair competition,” comments Cree’s chairman & CEO Chuck Swoboda. “We have invested nearly $1bn in R&D over the past 10 years to create fundamental technology that has enabled the LED lighting revolution. With more than 4000 issued patents, we have an obligation to act to protect our shareholders and our licensing partners,” he adds.

As part of the complaint, Cree is requesting that the ITC issues an order to exclude infringing and falsely advertised articles from entry into the USA, and a cease and desist order that requires the respondents to cease selling infringing and falsely advertised LED bulbs in the USA. Cree claims that Feit and Unity Opto are infringing on its patents and misleading consumers with their advertising, thereby enjoying an unfair advantage in the market and discouraging the development of new products that benefit consumers.

Cree claims that it was first to develop technology to achieve omnidirectionality of light to replicate the experience of an incandescent bulb. As a result, the firm introduced the first sub-$10 LED light bulb to US consumers that looks and lights like an incandescent bulb, it is claimed. Cree says that, through a series of tests, it determined that certain of Feit’s bulbs that carry the ENERGY STAR label fail critical performance requirements such as omnidirectional light distribution, hence consumers are purchasing bulbs, based on the ENERGY STAR label, that do not perform as promised.

Cree notes that its licensing program, which includes over 20 licensing partners, allows other companies to use its proprietary technology, and supports these organizations’ pursuit of new markets and products.

Tags: Cree LED

Visit: www.cree.com

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