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Wednesday, July 04, 2001
Rohm files lawsuit against Nichia in Japan


"...Rohm filed a lawsuit on July 2 in the Kyoto District Court against Nichia for the alleged infringement of its patent on GaN blue LED. Rohm is seeking the suspension of sale and manufacturing of GaN blue LED by Nichia.

The patent in question, numbered 3010412, concerns the constitution of devices such as LED or GaN blue-violet semiconductor lasers. This patent registered in Japan is the same as the U.S. patent (USP6084899, USP6115399), which Rohm claimed was violated by Nichia and filed a lawsuit against the company and its U.S. subsidiary in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania.

Asked about the lawsuit, Rohm stressed, "Our ultimate goal is not to suspend the release of Nichia products, but to make a cross license contract." Indeed, Rohm has approached Nichia to engage in a cross licensing agreement regarding the blue LED patent, but has met with only outright rejection. Nichia still appears to be rejecting the proposal even after the lawsuit in the U.S. Many Japanese manufactures are well poised to embark on the volume production of blue LED at anytime, but due to Nichia's strategy of not granting licenses to other companies, they have not been able to do so. With Nichia being the only device maker capable of producing blue LED products in Japan, there has been a sense of crisis among Japanese manufacturers of loosing their competitive edge in the international market, as Taiwanese and U.S. makers have already launched volume production. Rohm said, "We hope to make this lawsuit the opportunity to break the current standstill situation. We will start the volume production of blue LED by September of this year, while continuing the ongoing lawsuit."..."



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