19 September 2017
Seoul Semiconductor sues Archipelago Lighting for infringement of 12 Acrich patents
South Korean LED maker Seoul Semiconductor Co Ltd has filed a lawsuit, together with its affiliate Seoul Viosys Co Ltd, in the US District Court for the Central District of California asserting that Archipelago Lighting Inc is selling various LED bulb products (including filament LED bulbs) that infringe on 12 patents covering aspects of Seoul’s Acrich technology, including fundamental LED technologies such as LED driver technology for high-voltage operation, multi-junction technology (MJT), filament LED bulb structure, LED packaging, LED epitaxial growth, LED chip fabrication, etc.
In conventional LED products, one LED unit usually operates at a low voltage (3V) and high current. To increase brightness, one must connect many LED units through wire-bonding, but this can lead to other issues such as an oversized, costly operating circuit, a substantial increase in manufacturing costs, and defects caused by multiple wire-bonding connections.
Seoul’s Acrich technology resolves such problems by enabling the design of a high-voltage product with a high power output that relies on only a small number of LED units. It does so by utilizing its LED driver technology to enable high-voltage operation, as well as its unique MJT technology for mounting and integrating many LEDs within a small area. Acrich technology also enables LED products to operate using AC power without requiring conversion to DC, minimizing power dissipation and reducing overall component count. This maximises the available space in LED products, facilitating a simple circuit design and significantly reducing the size and cost of LED products, the firm says.
Seoul began to develop Acrich technology in the mid-1990s and has continued to launch new Acrich products every year following mass production in 2005. Based on decades of investment in R&D, Seoul has established a large patent portfolio for Acrich technology, including rights to about 1000 patents. However, with the recent increase in demand for high-voltage LED products, several companies have begun to manufacture products that infringe on Acrich patents, says Seoul. To protect its investment against such infringement, Seoul says that it will actively enforce its patent rights against any infringers.
“We have extensively investigated copycat products infringing on Acrich technology with various LED TVs, general lighting and automotive lighting products,” says Dr Ki-bum Nam, head of Seoul’s R&D Center & chief technology officer. “To protect Acrich technology, which has been developed with considerable resources over many decades, we will continuously take any and all legal action against infringers that disregard our valuable intellectual property,” he adds. “Creating a fair market that respects intellectual property is important for all innovative entrepreneurs and businesses.”