This week: TMSC sells out its LED unit to Epistar, a better way to bin white LEDs, and Cree goes on the IP offensive.
Cree sues Feit and Unity Opto
Cree attacked rival Feit Electric, and the Taiwanese company that makes the light bulbs it sells, in both US District Court and before the US International Trade Commission. Cree claims that the Unity Opto/Feit light bulbs infringe ten of is patents -- in particular that Unity Opto "has been infringing on its design and operation patents on LED chips, the chips' packaging, as well as LED bulbs," according to the China Post.
The argument brought to the ITC is that Feit is falsely claiming that its bulbs are Energy Star certified, when their light pattern guarantees that they could not be. Cree is seeking to keep the Unity Opto/Feit bulbs out of the US and to enjoin Feit from selling them.
The patent case is Cree Inc. v. Feit Electric Co., filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison). Here is a docket for those willing to jump through the access hoops. The ITC case is In the Matter of Light-Emitting Diode Products and Components Thereof, US International Trade Commission (Washington).
A new binning strategy for white LEDs
Two researchers from Technical University Darmstadt have proposed a new method of binning LEDs that is truer to human perception than the common method based on extrapolation from MacAdam ellipses. Peter Bodrogi and Tran Quoc Khanh refer to their method as "semantic interpretation." The method "assigns any instrumentally measured chromaticity difference a so-called semantic interpretation," i.e. one of the terms very good, good, moderate, low, or bad. This simple language is intended to ease communication between LED makers and luminaire designers.
The diagram shows semantic binning along with the traditional method using MacAdam ellipses.
This paper won the 2014 LpS Scientific Award, given by the LED Professional Symposium +Expo that meets each year in Austria.
TMSC sells LED unit to Epistar
The world's largest contract semiconductor manufacturer is getting out the LED business. TMSC is selling the 96% that it owns of its LED subsidiary to Epistar for $26 million. One wonders why exactly Epistar is buying more LED manufacturing capacity and expertise in a time when LED oversupply directly resulted in the profitability problems TMSC was experiencing with the unit. LEDs Magazine's coverage quotes the Epistar CEO in full on that question while noting that he didn't really say anything.
NEEP says LEDs' time has come
Northeast Energy Partnerships has updated its recommendations to affiliated utilities in the mid-Atlantic states and New England. The one new recommendation in this fourth edition of its strategy document reads: "Consider rapid transition of program support towards specialty LEDs and away from specialty CFLs as LED technology is better suited for the specialty applications and the prices of specialty LEDs continue to fall." Here are the executive summary and the full report.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting