The US International Trade Commission has begun an investigation into certain short-wavelength light emitting diodes and laser diodes following a patent infringement complaint.
Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, an emeritus professor at Columbia University, claims to own a patent on a method of producing wide-band gap semiconductors for LEDs and laser diodes at the blue and ultraviolet end of the light spectrum.
Rothschild alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and is seeking to block the import of all LEDs and lasers that fall foul of the patent, as well as any products which use the technology.
These include hand-held mobile devices, instrument panels, billboards, traffic lights, Blu-ray disc players and data storage devices.
Companies under investigation include Avago Technologies, Everlight Electronics, Hitachi, LG, Lite-On Technology, Matsushita, Motorola, Nokia, Pioneer, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba.
"Dr Rothschild made a seminal breakthrough in the production of the blue and ultraviolet LEDs that are essential to a wide variety of consumer electronics products today," said Albert Jacobs Jr, an attorney representing Rothschild.
"She richly deserves scientific as well as commercial recognition for her work."
The ITC said that the case will be handled by the Honourable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing to make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337.
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