April 23, 2012 — Everlight Electronics Co. Ltd. filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nichia Corp. in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Everlight is seeking enforcement of a patent covering light-emitting diode (LED) manufacturing metallization technology, U.S. Patent No. 6,653,215, “Contact to n-GaN with Au termination,” issued in 2003. Everlight is the exclusive US licensee of the patent, owned by Emcore Corporation.
The patent abstract reads, “A contact for n-type III-V semiconductor such as GaN and related nitride-based semiconductors is formed by depositing Al,Ti,Pt and Au in that order on the n-type semiconductor and annealing the resulting stack, desirably at about 400-600.degree. C. for about 1-10 minutes. The resulting contact provides a low-resistance, ohmic contact to the semiconductor and excellent bonding to gold leads.” Learn more in the US Patent Office (USPTO) file here.
The lawsuit seeks to enjoin Nichia from manufacturing, using, importing, offering for sale, or selling its infringing products in the United States. It also seeks monetary damages. Uses for Nichia’s LEDs being sold in the U.S. that are alleged to infringe on the ‘215 patent include residential lighting products, street lights and spotlights.
Everlight is also asking the US Court to declare two Nichia patents invalid, US Patent Nos. 5,998,925 and 7,531,960, and unenforceable and improperly issued by the USPTO. This would clear Everlight of infringement allegations from Nichia. Those patents cover the use of certain types of phosphors in making white-light LEDs.
Everlight notes that the action is part of an effort to “protect its products and customers from litigation attacks by Nichia.” Nichia has not yet released a statement on the filing.
EVERLIGHT Electronics Co. Ltd. makes High Power LEDs, Lamps, SMD LEDs, LED Lighting Modules, Digital Displays, Opto-couplers and Infrared Components for various applications. Visit www.everlight.com.