GOLETA, Calif., May 28 -- Cree Lighting Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cree Inc., has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nichia Corp. and Nichia America Corp. in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit seeks enforcement of a patent relating to semiconductor devices, such as light-emitting diodes, manufactured using a gallium-nitride based buffer technology. The patent, US Patent No. 5,686,738, entitled "Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Films," issued to Boston University in November 1997 and is licensed to Cree Lighting Co. under an agreement pursuant to which it obtained rights for a group of patents related to gallium nitride technology. Boston University is a co-plaintiff in the action. In its complaint, Cree Lighting Co. alleges that Nichia is infringing the patent by, among other things, importing, selling and offering for sale in the US certain semiconductor devices made from gallium nitride films. The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against infringement.