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Cree, Nichia Go to Court

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A three-judge panel in the Tokyo District Court has dismissed Nichia Corp.'s 1999 patent lawsuit against Sumitomo Corp., a distributor of Cree Inc.'s light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Meanwhile, a Cree subsidiary has again sued Nichia in the US.

The Japanese judges decided May 15 that Cree's LEDs do not infringe Nichia's Japanese Patent No. 2,918,139. The decision is the first in a series of international patent lawsuits in a bitter rivalry between Cree and Nichia over gallium nitride LED and laser diode technologies.

Shortly after the Japanese decision, Cree Lighting Co. and Boston University added another lawsuit to the list, alleging that Nichia and its American subsidiary are infringing a Boston University gallium nitride thin-film patent.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that Nichia and Nichia America Corp. are infringing US Patent No. 5,686,738, "Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Films." The university licensed the patent to Cree Lighting along with other related patents.

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2001
BusinessConsumerlight speed

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