LED lighting remains the hottest area of green patent
litigation, with several complaints filed in the last several weeks.
Green patent complaints were recently filed in the areas of advanced batteries
and solar powered lighting as well.
Celgard, LLC v. SK Innovation Co., Ltd.
Celgard is a North Carolina company that
manufactures specialty membranes and separators for lithium ion
batteries. On April 26, 2013, Celgard filed a patent
infringement complaint against SK Innovation (SK) in federal
court in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The complaint alleges that SK is directly infringing
and inducing infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,432,586 ('586 Patent) by selling
lithium ion battery separators to its customers knowing that the separators will
be incorporated into finished lithium ion batteries.
The '586 Patent is entitled "Separator for a high energy
rechargeable lithium battery" and directed to a separator including a ceramic
composite layer and a polyolefinic microporous layer. The ceramic layer
has a matrix material and is adapted to block dendrite growth and prevent
Celgard asserted the '586 Patent against Sumitomo in February.
Solar Powered Lighting
Richmond v. Lumisol Electrical Ltd. et al.
On March 27, 2013, Simon Nicholas Richmond filed
suit against a number of defendants including Lumisol Electrical,
Ningbo Hangshun Electrical, and Costco for alleged infringement of
three U.S. patents relating to a solar power lighting assembly and one
patent relating to a wind indicator illuminated by solar power.
The asserted lighting assembly patents are part of the
same family and include U.S. Patent Nos. 7,196,477, 7,429,827 and 8,362,700, each entitled "Solar powered light assembly
to produce light of varying colors." The fourth patent is U.S. Patent No. 8,089,370, entitled "Illuminated wind
The accused products include the Color-Changing Sun and
Moon Solar Stake Path Light sold under the brand name Celestial Series Sun and
Lighting Science Group Corporation v. Cree,
Florida LED lighting company Lighting Science Group (LSG)
recently sued North Carolina-based Cree for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,201,968, entitled "Low profile light"
Filed April 10, 2013 in federal court in Orlando, the LSG
complaint alleges that Cree infringes at least claims 1-6, 9, 14,
17-20 and 22 of the '968 Patent by its manufacture and sale of the T67 LED
The '968 Patent is directed to a luminaire including a
heat spreader and a heat sink disposed outboard of the heat spreader,
an outer optic securely retained relative to the heat spreader and/or the heat
sink, and an LED light source.
Nicholas Holiday, Inc. v. 1 Energy Solutions,
On April 1, 2013, Nicholas Holiday brought a
declaratory judgment action against 1 Energy Solutions (1 Energy) in
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.
The patent at issue is 1 Energy's U.S. Patent No. 7,045,965 ('965 Patent), granted
in 2006, and issued as a reissue patent on January 1, 2013. The '965
Patent is entitled "LED light module and series connected light modules"
and relates to a more reliable light module having LEDs connected in
parallel for use in light strings such as Christmas lights.
According to the complaint,
Nicolas Holiday has intervening rights because it began making and selling
various light string sets in 2008, including the Energy Smart LED C-5 and the
Energy Smart 50 LED Colorite Miniature Lights light string products.
Nicholas Holiday is requesting a declaratory judgment
that the reissue patent is invalid, its products do not infringe the reissue
patent, and that it may continue to make, use and sell its LED light string
Relume Corporation Trust v. Swarco America,
Inc. et al.
Relume filed a patent
infringement complaint against Swarco and Philips Lumileds on
March 27, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the District
of Delaware. The complaint asserts RE 42,161, entitled "Power supply for light emitting
diode array" ('161 Reissue), which is a reissue of U.S. Patent No. 5,661,645.
The '161 Reissue is directed to a power supply apparatus
and system for providing power to LEDs, particularly LED array traffic
signals. The accused products are are Swarco's FUTURLED
ITE traffic signal modules.
Trustees of Boston University v. Amazon.com.
On May 2, 2013, Boston University
(BU) sued Amazon in U.S. District Court for the District of
Massachusetts. The complaint asserts
U.S. Patent No. 5,686,738 ('738 Patent).
The '738 Patent is entitled "Highly insulated
monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films" and directed to gallium nitride
semiconductor devices and methods of preparing highly insulating GaN single
crystal films in a molecular beam epitaxial growth chamber.
BU allegs that certain Kindle Paperwhite and Fire devices
contain infringing LEDs.
Jam Strait, Inc. v. Osram Sylvania, Inc.
A Mississippi company called Jam Strait recently
sued Osram Sylvania in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana for alleged infringement of a patent relating to LEDs used in
Filed April 29, 2013, the complaint asserts
that Sylvania's 168/194/2825 LED light infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,786,625 ('625 Patent).
The '625 Patent is entitled "LED light module for
vehicles" and directed to an LED lamp module for use in vehicle tail
lights. According to the '625 Patent, the module has integrated dual
element control circuitry, voltage and current control circuitry, brightness
enhancement circuitry, and LED circuitry built in to produce a bright,
reliable, long life, energy efficient LED lamp that fits all vehicles.
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