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Seoul Semiconductor sues global retailer Kmart over patent infringement

Published 05 October 2016

Seoul Semiconductor and its affiliate company Seoul Viosys Co. have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Kmart in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

In the complaint, Seoul Semiconductor asserts that Kmart is selling LED products that infringe eight patents covering fundamental LED technologies, including high CRI enhancement with phosphor combinations, LED epitaxial growth, LED chip fabrication, multichip mounting technology, omnidirectional LED lamp technology, and Acrich MJT technology.

The accused product includes an LED filament bulb that is gaining widespread consumer attention in the U.S. as a replacement for traditional incandescent bulbs.

One of the asserted patents was invented by Professor Shuji Nakamura, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for his remarkable contributions to blue LED development.

Another co-inventor is Dr. Steven DenBaars, a professor of Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Seoul Semiconductor has continuously succeeded patent enforcement actions since its successful enforcement case against Taiwan-based AOT in 2003.

In 2015, Seoul Semiconductor filed successful patent infringement actions against multiple North American TV makers, resulting in a judgment for infringement and/or payments for past damages.

This year, Seoul Semiconductor won a unanimous jury verdict against Japanese LED lens maker Enplas, in which the jury held, and the U.S. district court upheld a finding that Enplas willfully infringed Seoul Semiconductor’s patented technology and is liable for US$4m.

Seoul Viosys, a co-plaintiff in this latest lawsuit, has also pursued active enforcement campaigns, resulting in a judgment for infringement as well as payments for past damages and a royalty licenses against US UV LED curing device maker. Recently, Seoul Viosys filed another patent infringement lawsuit against an UV LED insect trap maker in the U.S.

Consistent with Seoul Semiconductor’s commitment to protecting its valuable patented technology, Seoul Semiconductor has engaged Latham & Watkins, a world-leading litigation and intellectual property firm. Leading the charge for Seoul Semiconductor at Latham is partner Larry Gotts.

Gotts is consistently recognized for his trial success by leading industry publications such as Chambers Global and Legal 500, including being named one of the top “10 Most Admired IP attorneys” in the US by Law360. Gotts was the lead counsel of Seoul Semiconductor’s infringement lawsuit against Enplas, in which SSC succeeded in obtaining a willful infringement judgment.

Seoul Semiconductor lighting business department vice president Ki-bum Nam said: “We have invested tremendous resources for environment-friendly technology innovation for 25 years, and as a result, we have successfully commercialized various kinds of the first-developed technologies.

“Respecting intellectual property is essential for technology innovation and fair market competition, but there are numerous LED products currently on the market that infringe our intellectual property. To a fair market competition, we continuously take any and all actions necessary to deter such infringement and protect our intellectual property.”

Source: Company Press Release