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Nichia ends dispute with Cree

14 Nov 2002

After years of expensive litigation, Nichia and Cree agree a truce and cross license their patents.

In yet another LED cross-licensing agreement, Cree and Nichia have put an end to years of litigation concerning gallium nitride LED patents.

Nichia has been involved in ongoing legal disputes with several companies over patents for blue LEDs used in displays and lighting for eight years or so. So far this year, Nichia has ended its disputes and signed cross-licensing deals with Toyoda Gosei, Osram Opto and the most recent earlier this month with Lumileds.

Noboru Tazaki, senior managing director and division chief of the optoelectronics products division of Nichia, said: "This cross license and settlement of litigation with Cree is almost the final step of our aggressive plans of licensing and settlement of patent issues for this year."

Last December, a Tokyo court dismissed a patent litigation lawsuit filed by Nichia against Sumitomo Corp, one of Cree's distributors in Japan. Nichia had alleged that some of Cree's high brightness and low currency LED products infringed a Japanese patent and sought an injunction against the sale of the products in Japan. The court found that Cree's products did not infringe the patent.

Chuck Swoboda, Cree's president and CEO, stated: "This settlement represents an important step forward for Cree, Nichia, and the entire nitride optoelectronic industry. I believe this agreement is a recognition of the leadership that Nichia and Cree have demonstrated in both technology and intellectual property and should allow us to focus more of our resources on developing products to support the growing demand for blue, green and white LEDs, as well as UV and violet laser diodes."

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