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Current Sues Signify Over Patent Infringement Claims

Current Sues Signify Over Patent Infringement Claims

Current’s ongoing battle with Signify has taken a legal turn, with Current filing a lawsuit stating Signify’s patent infringement accusations are without merit.

The suit, which targets Signify Holding BV and its American subsidiary Signify North America Corp., seeks a declaration of non-infringement of 18 patents for technology related to LED lighting and Signify’s EnabLED program. Current provided more than 650 pages of documents in its lawsuit in an effort to disprove Signify’s patent infringement accusation. Signify has not filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Current, but had previously engaged in discussions for a financial settlement.

In the lawsuit filed on June 22, Current reminded the court of its history, going back to GE and its original owner Thomas Edison. Current said GE “pioneered the machine-blown light bulb (1892), the ductile tungsten filament used in modern incandescent bulbs (1909), the fluorescent lamp (1938), the halogen lamp (1959) and the first LED to emit visible light (1962). GE bulbs and fixtures have lit numerous historic settings and events, including the first commercial lighting on a steamship (1890), the first large-scale application of electronic lighting controls, installed for the Chicago Civic Opera (1929), the first night game in major league baseball (1935) and the first lighting of Niagara Falls (1979). The shape of an incandescent light bulb – which still resembles Edison’s original design – has become an international symbol for innovation and bright ideas.” GE says because of that history, it respects and values legitimate intellectual property. Indeed, Current holds hundreds of its own patents, including scores relating specifically to LED lighting technology, ranging from LED phosphors, to drivers, to optics, and virtually every other facet of an LED light fixture or bulb.”

Current goes on to put in its lawsuit, “…over the last 14 years Signify has approached hundreds of lighting companies, accused them of infringing one or more of Signify’s patents, and demanded that they enter a broad, portfolio-wide license and pay royalties to Signify. Signify has sued several companies that failed to comply. Over that same timespan, however, many of the patents Signify previously highlighted in its licensing negotiations have expired. Over that same timespan, many of the patents Signify previously highlighted in its licensing negotiations have been narrowed and/or weakened through unfavorable claim constructions or, in other cases, by having key claims invalidated.” Current also described the patent infringement claims as “without merit”.

Both Current and Signify had been discussing the patent infringement claims, and adds that there are “fundamental disagreements as to the scope, infringement, validity, and value” of the patent infringement claims. Current says Signify has recently stopped negotiations about the situation, so it filed the lawsuit as a way to “affirmatively engage and resolve Signify’s baseless contentions.”

As of June 28, Signify has not filed any documents with the court related to this case or commented on the situation.


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