Seoul Semiconductor claims to have 10,000 patents about LEDs. I wanted to put that claim to the test...
Yesterday I saw a press release in my news aggregator. When I went to read it, it was no longer available, which raised my interest, and I was startled by the original headline. It said “Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Registers 10,000 LED Patents Domestically and Internationally”. In my local newspaper they have recently been doing a truth or lie series related to politician’s claims about each other, or statements that they make. I decided to do the same for this claim. I did manage to find a copy of the release on another site even though they had withdrawn the one on businesswire.
So, I did a patent search using Google patent search and found 3190 entries including 2080 applications and 1060 issued ranging over a wide range of subjects related to LEDs, mostly filed between 2005 and 2009. Since 2009 there have only been 7 filings in 2010 and none since then. When I did a search in the actual in the US Patent Database (using patents or filings assigned to Seoul Semiconductor) I found only 144 filings and 88 issued. Doing the search again on Espacenet – the European patent database showed 1297 entries, which claims to be a worldwide database.
In the “about” section of the press release they said “According to the 2010 LED market reports issued by Strategies Unlimited in the U.S., Seoul Semiconductor is the world’s fourth largest LED supplier, holding more than 10,000 patents.
Now, I don’t have access to the patent databases for every country in the world, but if there really are 3190 filings in the US (sorry Google but I don’t believe you), then I can accept that there may be 10,000 globally because many of the patents would be the same – just different jurisdictions. Having said that – they claim 10,000 patents, not 10,000 filings and they only have 1060 patents in the US according to Google at the moment, even though the patent office only shows 88. So, a 9X replication seems a little difficult to believe. If we actually use the official database search engines, the numbers are an order of magnitude lower.
So – my conclusion. They do have a lot of patents but they do not have 10,000 patents issues and so I claim that this is not true. It is possible that they may have 10,000 applications, but even this seems a little difficult to fathom.
What say you? Anyone from Seoul Semiconductor reading this, please feel free to comment.
Brian Bailey – keeping you covered
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