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5 September 2018

Seoul Semiconductor sues TV retailer Fry’s Electronics for LED patent infringement

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Together with its affiliate Seoul Viosys Co Ltd, South Korean LED maker Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against consumer electronics retail company Fry’s Electronics concerning sales of various LED television products.

With 17 mega-stores in California and 14,000 staff, Fry’s is one of the largest big-box retailer of consumer electronics in the USA, offering more than 300 LED TV models featuring 25 different global TV brands.

Seoul asserts that certain LED TV products in Fry’s stores infringe 15 of Seoul’s LED patents relating to manufacturing processes for LED backlight units. Seoul’s patented technologies cover LED TV backlight unit structures, LED backlight lenses for providing uniform illumination of LED lights, UCD technology for high-color-gamut displays, LED packaging, LED chip fabrication, and LED epitaxy. These are said to be significant technologies for improving the color, brightness and duration time of all LCD light sources such as smartphones, laptops, tablet PCs and monitors as well as TVs.

In particular, Seoul says that optical lens technology for offering uniform light distribution on TV or monitor displays is one of the most significant LED backlight technologies that it has developed since the earliest days of LCD backlights.

Seoul says that, to protect that patented technology, it actively enforces its patent rights against suspected infringers. In 2016, it prevailed in US federal court against Japanese lens maker Enplas, with a judgment finding that Enplas willfully infringed one of Seoul’s LED backlight lens patents as well as one of its LED backlight system patents. Over the past few years, Seoul has also pursued patent litigation for infringement of LED backlight lens and other components patents against North America TV maker Craig Electronics and Curtis International, obtaining patent royalties from both companies.

UCD technology (KSF) is another of Seoul’s core LED backlight technologies that enables improvement in the color gamut of LCD displays such as TVs and smartphones, which has been co-developed with a Japanese corporation for a long time. By enabling green and red light generated with KSF phosphors, UCD technology delivers 92-93% NTSC, which is higher than that of OLED.

Prior to the filing of its most recent litigation, Seoul delivered notices of patent infringement to various global TV brand makers, as well as their suppliers who manufacture TV modules or TV sets in various regions of Asia, including China and Taiwan, through OEM or ODM. Seoul advised these TV makers and manufacturers that they needed to stop using LEDs and/or other components that likely infringe Seoul’s LED backlight lens and UCD technology patents.

“For young entrepreneurs and small business entities to develop innovative products under fair competition culture, it is necessary for market participants to respect other companies’ intellectual property rights,” says Sam Ryu, Seoul’s vice president of IT Business. “To prevent distribution of suspected infringing products, we are thoroughly investigating various global TV brand products that may infringe our patents. If these companies continue to use products that are suspected of infringement, despite our requests to stop, we will take all the necessary legal actions to the end.”

See related items:

Seoul Semiconductor files three patent lawsuits and announces Acrich licensing program

Tags: Seoul Semiconductor LEDs

Visit: www.SeoulSemicon.com

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