Back on May 27, 2016, Nichia Corporation (“Nichia”) filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the London High Court (Patents Court) against B & Q PLC (“B&Q”), a UK-based DIY company. The lawsuit alleges that the B&Q infringed three European Patents, Nos. 0936682, PT2197053, and PT2276080 relating to the technology of LEDs using YAG-based phosphor. Nichia seeks an injunction and damages for the alleged infringement concerning twenty of B&Q’s LED illumination products, which include the “240 White LED Lights (YF-10-44)”.
All three patents are fundamental YAG phosphor patents that Nichia filed on July 29th, 1996 (their priority dates). Interestingly, these patents are set to expire in just under a month and a half. European patents last 20 years from the time of the initial application. The latest lawsuit may be a last-ditch attempt to cash in on the patents. It could also be just part of Nichia’s aggressive stance on patents in general.
As usual, Nichia concluded its press release about the infringement lawsuit with it warning to potential infringers, “Nichia seeks to protect its patents and other intellectual property rights and takes actions against alleged infringers in any country where appropriate and necessary.”