LED solid-state lighting component maker Cree Inc. of Durham, N.C., announced yesterday that it has filed suit against BridgeLux Inc. (formerly eLite Optoelectronics) for infringing US Patents 6,657,236 (the '236 patent) and 5,686,738 (the '738 patent). The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. Cree's '236 patent, entitled "Enhanced Light Extraction in LEDs through the Use of Internal and External Optical Elements," relates to light extraction structures used in LEDs. The '738 patent, entitled "Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Films," relates to semiconductor devices manufactured using a gallium nitride-based buffer technology. The '738 patent is owned by the Trustees of Boston University and licensed to Cree on an exclusive basis; BU is a co-plaintiff in the suit. The '738 patent was also the subject of two prior suits brought by Cree and BU against Nichia Corp. and AXT Inc., both of which were settled. "The filing of this suit demonstrates Cree's willingness to protect our R&D investments and patent rights, especially at a time when some segments of the LED marketplace act as if there are no issues with intellectual property," said Cree chairman and CEO Charles Swoboda.