LONDON Mitsubishi has agreed terms with Professor Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, professor emerita at Columbia University, New York, over her assertion that Mitsubishi and dozens of other electronics manufacturers in Asia and Europe violated her patents for producing light emitting diodes and laser diodes.
The terms of the Mitsubishi agreement are confidential, according to Professor Rothschild's attorney, Albert Jacobs Jr. of Troutman Sanders LLP. However, the aggregate received from her settlements and licenses which now have been concluded with more than 40 companies amounts to over $27 million, Jacobs said.
The diodes that make use of Professor Rothschild's technology have been used in Blu-ray format video players, Motorola Razr phones and Hitachi camcorders, backlighting for computers, as well as street lighting and optical storage of information, the legal firm said.
Mitsubishi is the latest company to reach a global settlement with Professor Rothschild. Others who have settled include BenQ, Dalien Lumei, Epistar Corp., Guangzhou Hongli, Hitachi, Hugo Optotech, LG, Motorola, Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electro Mechanics, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo Electric, Sewa Electric, Sharp Corp., Shenzhen Unilight, Showa Denko, Sony Corp., and Sony Ericsson. Earlier settlements were made with Nichia Chemical and Koninklijke Philips Electronics, which included Philips Lumiled Lighting Co. and Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd.
"Dr. Rothschild made a seminal breakthrough in the production of LEDs and LDs, especially the blue, violet and ultraviolet LEDs that are essential to a wide variety of consumer electronics products today," said Jacobs. "She richly deserves both scientific as well as commercial recognition for her work."
Professor Rothschild, who is the sole owner of U.S. Patent Number 5,252,499, as well as the recently expired '618 patent and foreign patents related thereto, is currently Howe Professor Emerita of Materials Science and Engineering at Columbia. She conducted research in the 1980s and 1990s into the electrical and optical properties of wide band-gap semiconductors. This research has proven pivotal in the development of short-wavelength emitting (blue and violet) diodes that are now widely used in consumer electronics.
She was issued two U.S. patents in the early 1990s that cover methods of producing wide band-gap semiconductors for LEDs and laser diodes. Such LEDs and laser diodes have become increasingly popular in a variety of devices.
Recognized by the American Physical Society as a Notable Woman Physicist in 1998, Professor Rothschild was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982.
Professor Rothschild began her research career in private industry, working with Sylvania Research Laboratories in Bayside, N.Y., in the 1950s, and later at Philips Laboratories in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. She joined the faculty at Columbia University as a Professor of Materials Science in 1985. In 2008, she was selected as a recipient of Barnard College's Distinguished Alumna Award. She has published approximately 90 research articles and given 28 invited talks since 1980.
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