Tech Transfer eNews Blog

University of California targets General Electric in campaign against patent infringement

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 8th, 2020

The University of California (UC) has filed a lawsuit against General Electric (GE), the latest company that the university system has targeted for infringing on patents related to LED light bulb filaments.

According to UC, the suits are aimed at “protecting the reinvention of the light bulb” by a Nobel-laureate team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara led by Japanese-American scientist Shuji Nakamura, who won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics for his part in creating blue LEDs.

The regents of UC filed the claim against GE at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday, December 20. The claim alleges that GE’s product line of vintage LED lightbulbs infringes on three UC patents–the same patents at the center of the university’s litigation campaign in July that targeted Walmart, Amazon, Ikea and other retailers of LED lightbulbs.

“By flooding the market with unauthorized products, they [the retailers] cripple the ability of university technology transfer programs to effectively license technologies,” reads UC’s claim against GE. “The regents bring this complaint as part of its campaign to spearhead a broader, national response to the existential threat to university technology transfer that is posed by the widespread disregard for university patent rights that is prevalent today.”

In addition to filing the lawsuits, UC has convinced the US International Trade Commission to open an investigation into the retailers. Seth Levy, a partner at the law firm Nixon Peabody, which is representing UC, says that the university’s actions are a “message to entities throughout the private sector that university IP rights cannot be infringed with impunity.”

Source: WIPR

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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