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3 October 2007


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

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has denied the request by Epistar Corp of Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park, Taiwan 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 the firm’s 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). The order also bars import of packaged lamps containing the LEDs and boards consisting primarily of arrays of such packaged lamps. Previously, on 19 July, the CAFC had stayed enforcement temporarily.

The limited exclusion order followed the ITC’s final determination on 9 May that the LEDs infringe US Patent no. 5,008,718 owned by Philips Lumileds Lighting Co LLC of San Jose, CA, USA. Companies that use, import, or sell these unlicensed infringing products, even unknowingly, are direct infringers of the patent and are subject to the exclusion order, asserts Philips Lumileds. In denying Epistar’s request, the CAFC concluded that Epistar did not meet the key criteria, such as ‘likelihood of success on the merits’ of its appeal or the demonstration of ‘a substantial case on the merits’ to obtain a stay, adds Philips Lumileds.

Previously, on 29 August, the ITC denied a similar request by Epistar for a stay of the exclusion order. The CAFC’s decision now clears the way for US Customs and Border Protection to enforce the order.

Philips Lumileds also has a pending action in US District Court for the Northern District of California, in which it is asserting its patent rights against Epistar and seeking both damages and an injunction.

Nevertheless, Epistar still maintains that the ITC’s decision was incorrect, both factually and legally. The CAFC will now adjudicate the appeal filed by Epistar and consider whether the ITC erred during its investigation, says Epistar. “We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to the US appeals court,” says the firm’s president Dr B.J. Lee.

In contrast, Philips Lumileds says that the CAFC’s ruling by a three-judge panel reinforces its confidence that the appeals court will ultimately agree with the ITC’s findings of infringement and reject Epistar’s appeal.

*The US Customs and Border Protection has ruled that the ITC’s limited exclusion order does not apply to Epistar’s new Phoenix and Aquarius lines of ultra-bright AlGaInP LEDs, which can therefore still be imported. Epistar launched the new LEDs in July, claiming that they had been designed without the feature that Lumileds claims is the basis for its patent, so that the LEDs are not subject to the exclusion order.

See related items:

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