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  • Comment on Court Ruling in GaN-based Blue LED Patent Infringement Suit Filed by Nichia Corporation Against Toyoda Gosei

Comment on Court Ruling in GaN-based Blue LED Patent Infringement Suit Filed by Nichia Corporation Against Toyoda Gosei

November 30, 2000

The Tokyo District Court ruled today that Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd. must pay Nichia Corporation damages compensation for patent infringement. Nichia had filed a lawsuit against Toyoda Gosei, alleging infringement of its rights to a patent on a gallium nitride (GaN)-based blue LED (light-emitting diode).

The case is one of nine separate lawsuits contested by the two companies in connection with patent rights to GaN-based blue LEDs., Nichia filing seven of the suits and Toyoda Gosei two.

Today's judgment does not affect Toyoda Gosei's present LED operations because the case relates only to products which the company no longer manufactures or sells. Toyoda Gosei assures all of its customers that they will not be inconvenienced in any way by the court's ruling in this case.

Toyoda Gosei firmly believes that it has not infringed on patent rights or utility model rights to the LED product in question. The company is preparing to file an immediate appeal to the Tokyo High Court requesting that today's ruling be annulled. The company has already filed a separate suit in the Tokyo High Court maintaining that Nichia's claims to the relevant patent and utility model rights are invalid. It is confident that the court will rule in its favor and invalidate the Patent Office's decision to grant the rights to Nichia.

1. Rights in question
  (1) Registered Utility Model Right No. 3027676, for light-emitting devices for GaN-based compound semiconductors with ñsolid electrodes positioned at diagonal cornersî
  (2) Registered Patent No. 2560963, for light-emitting devices for GaN-based compound semiconductors with ñZn/Si dope in InGaN luminescent layerî
2. Nature of Nichia's lawsuit
  Nichia Corporation demanded 152 ,380,000 yen in damages compensation.
3. Ruling of the Tokyo District Court on November 30, 2000
  The court ruled that Toyoda Gosei did not infringe on the utility model right (regarding diagonally positioned electrodes). However, it ruled that Toyoda Gosei infringed on the patent at issue, and ordered Toyoda Gosei to pay Nichia the sum of 104,860,000 yen as compensation.
4. Toyoda Gosei's response
  Toyoda Gosei and its lawyers firmly believe that the company has not made any infringement of the rights in question and that Nichia's claims to the rights are invalid. As described below, Toyoda Gosei plans to appeal the ruling and has already filed a lawsuit seeking revocation of the claimed rights.
  (1) Appeal to the Tokyo High Court
The company is preparing an immediate appeal to the Tokyo High Court, requesting an annulment of the Tokyo District Court's ruling.
  (2) Lawsuit seeking invalidation of the Patent Office's decision
A suit to examine the validity of utility model and patent rights at issue has already been filed by Toyoda Gosei in the Tokyo High Court. Toyoda Gosei is confident that the relevant rights granted to Nichia by the Patent Office will be deemed invalid.