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Panasonic and Toshiba take on Rothschild

Respondent number in the industry-wide ITC doping patent case rises to 50, but the emeritus professor has already granted 21 licenses.

Panasonic and Toshiba have emerged as the two major non-US companies actively defending themselves against accusations of infringing Professor Gertrude Neumark Rothschild s optoelectronic device doping patent.

Out of 44 manufacturers originally named in the US International Trade Commission (ITC) case, the Japanese companies are the only ones officially offering resistance. The ITC has the power to stop US imports of LEDs and laser diodes that infringe the patents, and products that contain them.

Some 21 companies have now settled with and gained licenses from the retired Columbia University academic, while the ITC announced on March 31 that it will extend its investigations to six more Asian companies.

“We re currently locked in significant litigation with Panasonic and Toshiba,” confirmed Al Jacobs, counsel for the emeritus professor, on returning from taking testimony from other respondents in Taiwan.

From the original 44, one further mobile phone manufacturer has also just settled. Around five companies remain that might still contest the case, Jacobs revealed.

The ITC added Taiwan s Chi Mei Lighting Technology, Tekcore, Toyolite, Tyntek, and VPEC, plus China's Sanan Optoelectronics to its investigations on the Rothschild case on March 31. “It would appear that one or more of those companies are interested in having a discussion,” Jacobs told compoundsemiconductor.net.

Panasonic and Toshiba join Cree in the minority of optoelectronic device manufacturers that have decided to defend themselves against Rothschild s patents.

Preparations for a hearing between Cree and Rothschild in the Southern District of California, separate from the ITC case, are ongoing. Jacobs has just been appointed lead counsel for the plaintiff in that case also.

Neumark Rothschild has been pleased with the response from the optoelectronics industry so far, Jacobs says.

“Her object is to establish that women actually have a role in male-dominated science,” he explained. In a world where recognition is often measured economically, Rothschild is not satisfied just to have professorial chairs endowed in honor of her work on semiconductor technology.

“If Sony says, We re very pleased to announce that we ve settled with Professor Rothschild and taken a global license , that gives a certain distinction to her scientific contribution,” Jacobs pointed out.

• The companies named in the ITC case that have taken out global licenses to use Neumark's patented technology are: Epistar, Guangzhou Hongli Optoelectronic, Huga Optotech, LG, Nichia, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo, Seiwa Electric, Seoul Semiconductor, Sharp, Shenzhen Unilight Electronic, Showa Denko, Sony, and Toyoda Gosei.

The following companies have taken out US-only licenses: Everlight, Exceed, Lucky Light, Osram, and Yellow Stone Corporation.

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