LONDON In another round of the long running patent infringement cases between LED suppliers Philips Lumileds (san Jose, Calif.) and Epistar (Hsinchu, Taiwan), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected Epistar's appeal of the International Trade Commission's interpretation of the claims in Philips Lumileds' U.S. Patent No. 5,008,718 (the '718 patent).
The Federal Circuit ruling said: "Epistar does not challenge the infringement determination under the [ITC's] claim construction." Thus, the ITC's ruling that Epistar infringes the '718 patent has now been confirmed on appeal.
Patent disputes between the two companies go back as far as 2005. Two years ago customs authorities in the U.S. started blocking the import into the country of Epistar Corporation's LEDs that infringe patents held by Philips's Lumileds lighting operation.
The move followed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denying Epistar's motion to stay an International Trade Commission exclusion order prohibiting importation of Epistar's OMA, MB, and GB products into the U.S.
The latest ruling (late Friday, 22 May) also upheld the ITC's decision that Epistar (as a successor to UEC) "may not contest validity of the '718 patent with respect to the UEC products that it inherited in the merger" between Epistar and UEC, but overturned the ITC's ruling that Epistar could not contest validity with respect to other products.
Philips Lumileds said it remained confident that any further invalidity challenges by Epistar to the '718 Patent would be rejected. This confidence is supported by the rulings of U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California in an earlier case against UEC granting Philips Lumileds summary judgment on multiple different validity challenges to the '718 patent claims.
AS well as the ITC proceeding, Philips Lumileds has a pending patent infringement suit against Epistar in the U.S. District Court before Judge Wilken asserting infringement of not only the '718 patent, but also two other Philips Lumileds patents.
Philips Lumileds suggests the Federal Circuit's decision paves the way for Philips Lumileds' success in that pending dispute.
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