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22 October 2007


Epistar sues Lumileds for breach of settlement agreement

LED maker Epistar Corp of Hsinchu, Taiwan says that, on 10 October, it filed a complaint against Philips Lumileds Lighting Co of San Jose, CA, USA that aims to “stop Lumileds competing unfairly and interfering with Epistar’s business relations, for breaching the terms of a settlement agreement, and for a declaration of contractual rights”.

At the end of September, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Epistar’s request to stay enforcement of the US International Trade Commission’s limited exclusion order (which came into effect on 12 July), prohibiting import into the USA of its AlGaInP-based omni-directional mirror adhesion (OMA), metal-bonded (MB) and glue-bonded (GB) LEDs (and next-generation OMA II, MB II and GB II LEDs), as well as packaged lamps containing the LEDs and boards consisting primarily of arrays of such packaged lamps. The limited exclusion order followed the ITC’s final determination on 9 May that the LEDs infringe Lumileds’ US Patent no. 5,008,718.

Epistar’s latest complaint alleges that “Lumileds has been misleading customers and potential customers into believing that many of Epistar’s LEDs other than those at issue were also affected by the limited exclusion order entered by the ITC”. Furthermore, “Lumileds’ statements falsely suggest that Epistar is barred from importing any of its advanced AlGaInP products into the United States and that the six products at issue infringe two patents they were expressly found not to infringe,” continues the complaint. “Customs and Border Patrol earlier indicated that Epistar’s new Phoenix and Aquarius lines of LEDs are not within the scope of the order”. Through filing the complaint, Epistar says it seeks to stem the flow of misleading information about the scope of the ITC order.

The complaint also addresses other conduct of Lumileds related to the ITC proceedings. Epistar says that, in July 2004, the two firms settled a dispute over whether certain OMA products infringed Lumileds’ 5,008,718 patent. As part of the settlement, Lumileds agreed not to sue Epistar for infringement based on the OMA products and granted a license to Epistar to make, sell, use, offer to sell and import AlGaInP absorbing-substrate LEDs. However, during the ITC investigation, Lumileds alleged that Epistar's OMA products infringed the patent. Epistar’s complaint therefore explains that the assertion of the patent against the OMA LED products was a violation of the terms of the Epistar/Lumileds settlement agreement.

The complaint also seeks an injunction against Lumileds to “prevent further irreparable harm, as well as compensatory and exemplary damages to redress and deter the ongoing injury to Epistar being caused by Lumileds’ alleged illegal practices”.

See related items:

Lumileds refutes Epistar’s claims of US Customs clearance for Phoenix and Aquarius LEDs

Appeals court denies Epistar’s request for stay of ITC exclusion order

ITC denies Epistar’s motion to stay exclusion order

US appeal court temporarily blocks ITC’s exclusion order on Epistar

ITC’s US exclusion order comes into force on Epistar’s MB, GB and OMA LEDs, just as new Phoenix and Aquarius LEDs launched …

ITC adopts exclusion order against Epistar's MB LEDs; will review whether OMA and GB LEDs also infringe Lumileds patent

Round two: Epistar responds to Philips Lumileds

Judge's Initial Determination favours Philips Lumileds in patent infringement battle

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