On 8 June 2017, South Korean LED maker Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd (SSC), together with its affiliate company Seoul Viosys Co Ltd, announced that they have resolved a patent litigation that was filed on behalf of Seoul and The Regents of the University of California against Kmart Corp. The patent case was filed in US Federal District Court, asserting infringement of eight patents based upon Kmart’s sales of Kodak/Spotlite branded filament LED bulbs.
As part of the settlement, Kmart agreed to stop selling Kodak/Spotlite branded filament LED bulbs. The asserted eight patents in this litigation relate to essential structures of filament LED products, including high CRI enhancement with phosphor combinations, LED epitaxial growth, LED chip fabrication, multi-chip mounting technology, omnidirectional LED lamp technology, and Acrich MJT technology.
In addition to the enforcement action against an LED filament bulb retailer, Seoul has sent warnings to manufacturers of LED filament bulbs as well as other LED lighting products to cease any infringement of Seoul’s patents.
Currently, filament LED end products are manufactured by many lighting manufacturers, such as Super Trend Lighting, Longstar Lighting, Topstar Lighting, and Yankon Lighting. Seoul has already put manufacturers of various LED lighting products on notice of its patents and requested that sales of any infringing products must be immediately ceased.
Nam Ki-bum, executive VP of the Research Center at Seoul, said, “We believe various LED lighting products currently on the market infringe Seoul’s patents. Now that we have resolved one litigation in this area, we will devote more resources to actively protecting our valuable intellectual property rights relating to LED products.” He added, “Distributors should also take active precautionary measures not to sell infringing products. As long as such measures have not been taken, we will continuously take legal action against manufacturers and distributors relating to suspected infringing products in any countries where infringement occurs.”