26 February 2021
On 18 February, Japan’s Nitride Semiconductors Co Ltd (which was spun off from Tokushima University in 2000 and claims to have developed the first highly efficient ultraviolet light-emitting diode) filed a complaint against global electrical components distributor Digi-Key Corp in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota, asserting that UV-LED products being supplied by various LED companies – such as American Opto Plus LED Corp, Crystal IS Inc, Kingbright Electronic Co Ltd and QT-Brightek Corp – have been infringing its UV-LED patent. In an earlier-filed patent litigation against Digikey, Nitride has already accused patent infringement against UV-LED products of Luminus Device Inc and Lite-On Semiconductor Corp.
Nitride first filed a patent infringement suit against Digi-Key in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota in September 2017.
With professor emeritus Shiro Sakai at Tokushima University, Nitride developed highly efficient UV-LEDs as early as 2000. It has continued to manufacture and sell UV-LEDs, and says that it has invested in R&D to develop and enhance its UV-LED technology.
To protect its UV-LED patented technology, Nitride initiated its patent enforcement campaign starting in 2017. Subsequently, in 2020, a judgment was issued by the US District Court for the Northern District of California against RayVio Corp for infringing Nitride’s UV-LED patent. That judgment was also in Nitride’s favor with respect to the validity of its patent. The US Patent & Trademark Office has also confirmed the validity of the key claims of Nitride’s patent in its final judgment on an Inter Parte Review case filed by RayVio.
Nitride says that, since it considers its intellectual property rights to be vitally important company assets, it will take any action necessary to enforce its patent against infringers in any country and uphold its patents and other intellectual property rights.