Everlight Chairman: Taiwan Should Not Step Down in LED Patent Wars

To become a leading country in the LED industry, Taiwan should not step down in patent lawsuits, a Chinese-language Liberty Times report quoted Everlight Chairman Robert Yeh saying.

Taiwanese LED package and lighting manufacturer Everlight and Japanese LED manufacturer Nichia’s patent lawsuit has been ongoing for nearly 10 years. In late April this year, the Michigan Jury decision of invalidating Nichia’s U.S. patents o. 5,998,925 and No 7,531,960 (925 and 960), making a major win for Everlight.

Below are excerpts from Liberty Times exclusive interview with Everlight Chairman Robert Yeh.

“Everlight’s win is significant for both the LED industry and Taiwan’s technology sector,” said Yeh. “The two patents have very wide applications, so I decided early on to fight to the bitter end. If we are unable to breach the patent barrier, we will be unable to expand in the LED market.”

The patents are applicable to smartphones, TV, and lighting applications. In the past, it was difficult for Everlight to acquire orders because Nichia would warn potential clients about patent issues, so it was difficult for Everlight to enter large smartphone and lighting brands supply chain.

Asked about the company’s patent lawsuit strategy, Everlight’s responded it had implemented aggressive lawsuit strategy, said Yeh. Many people were under the wrong impression that Nichia was the first to sue Everlight that was initially the case in Taiwan. “When we found out that we were unable to leave the market, we started to file “patent invalid” lawsuits against Nichia in major markets including Japan, U.S., and EU,” said Yeh.

Nichia has been in the industry for so many years, even large LED enterprises are afraid of them, and most choose legal settlements.

Responding to why the company chose costly lawsuits over settlements, Everlight has insisted on using lawsuits as a solution because it is the only way for Taiwan to become a leading LED player in the global market, said Yeh. Everlight and Nichia could have arrived to a settlement, but Nichia had missed the opportunity last year. The company did not follow up on a settlement after the German court ruled Everlight had won one of the patent lawsuits, he added.

Everlight has invested massive resources in its patent wars in the last 10 years, and the company’s employees have being working hard on intellectual property rights, R&D, and other businesses and technologies. Once the patent issues are out of the way, the company is ready to charge forward, he added.

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