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Epistar to appeal as trade ruling favors Lumileds

Disappointed with the US International Trade Commission's finding that some of Epistar's LEDs infringe a Lumileds patent, the Taiwanese firm says that it will appeal against the decision.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has ruled that certain LED chips made by the Taiwanese firm Epistar infringe a Philips Lumileds patent.

The "final determination" from the USITC includes a limited exclusion order that will prohibit imports of the specified LED chips, packaged devices, and arrays of packaged LEDs into the US - although not complete systems featuring the chips.

While Lumileds has declared itself "satisfied" with the ruling, Epistar says that it plans to appeal against the USITC findings.

Since late 2005, Lumileds and Epistar have been locked in a battle over the intellectual property in three US patents relating to LED chip manufacturing processes, including wafer-bonding and the use of a transparent semiconductor window layer within the chip structures.

According to Epistar, the USITC has reversed its initial ruling in the case (see related story), by finding that Epistar s optical mirror adhesion (OMA), glue-bond and metal-bond LEDs infringed two claims in US patent 5,008,718, but did not infringe two patents covering wafer-bonding.

"We are obviously disappointed with the decision of the USITC," said Epistar president BJ Lee.

"In reaching this decision, Epistar believes that the USITC has interpreted these patents erroneously, to grant exclusive rights to Lumileds to technology that it did not invent and has never used."

"For this reason, Epistar is considering an appeal."

The next stage of the litigation process will involve a US Presidential review, after which the limited exclusion order on Epistar products will become final. This process is expected to take 60 days.

Lumileds has also filed a court action against Epistar in northern California, under which it is seeking both damages and an injunction.

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