Former Professor’s Patent Infringement Complaint Seeks Ban on Blu-ray and Blue LED Product Importation

A former Columbia University professor with a 50-year engineering career, Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, has accused 34 companies including Sony, Motorola, and Samsung of infringing her patents for LEDs and laser diodes. On February 20, 2008 she filed the complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.

In filing the complaint, Rothschild is hoping to block U.S. imports of widely available products that she says infringe the patent, including video players using Sony’s Blu-ray format, Motorola’s Razr mobile phones and Hitachi camcorders.

Albert Jacobs of Dreier LLP in New York told Bloomberg in a recent article that Rothschild made a “seminal breakthrough” that goes into blue and ultraviolet (short wavelength) LEDs, which use less electricity than red LEDs. They are used for handset backlighting, computers, traffic lights and instrument panels. He also alleges that the fundamental technology of her patent goes into short wavelength laser diodes such as those in Blu-ray disc readers and recorders.

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“We are bringing this action for her to gain scientific recognition for her achievements and for her to gain commercial recognition for her invention,” Jacobs said in a telephone interview.

He indicated that in previous patent complaints filed elsewhere, some big LED makers including Toyoda Gossei, Osram Opto Semiconductors, and Nichia have already settled with Rothschild over alleged infringement of the same patents. (Ref: Coverage) Lawsuits against Cree, and Philips Lumileds are still pending, Jacobs said.