By Eric Schweibenz
On April 11, 2019, Current Lighting Solutions, LLC (“Current”) of East Cleveland, Ohio, General Electric Company (“GE”) of Boston, Massachusetts, and Consumer Lighting LLC (“Consumer Lighting”) of East Cleveland, Ohio (collectively, “Complainants”) filed a complaint (part 1 and part 2) requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Cree, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina, Cree Hong Kong Limited of Hong Kong, and Cree Huizhou Solid State Lighting Company Limited of China (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain LED packages that comprise fluoride-based phospors activated with manganese and products containing same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,497,973 (“the ’973 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 9,680,067 (“the ’067 patent”) (collectively the “Asserted Patents”).

According to the complaint, the Asserted Patents generally relate to certain LED packages and products containing PFS phosphor. In particular, the lighting apparatuses of the ’973 patent utilize certain complex fluoride phosphors activated with manganese ions for the red-emitting component. Complainants further state that the ’067 patent discloses phosphor-loaded LED packages and phosphor contained in the encapsulant of the ’067 patent surrounding an LED chip.

Regarding domestic industry, Complainants state that they have made significant investments in plant and equipment, significant employment of labor and capital, and substantial investments in the exploitation of the asserted patents, including engineering, research and development, and technical and customer support. Complainants specifically point to TriGainTM phosphors forming a component of their LED packages as a domestic industry product that practices at least one claim of each Asserted Patent. Complainants further state that licensee Nichia manufactures the representative part under authorization from Complainants, and that Complainants’ licensees also manufacture other parts for use in displays.

In the complaint, Complainants state that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the Asserted Patents. The complaint specifically refers to various LED packages comprising fluoride-based phosphors activated with manganese, and products containing the same, such as Cree CMA1516-0000-00PN0U0A30G (Cree® XLamp® CMA1516LED) as infringing products.

As to related litigation, Complainants state that, concurrently with the filing of the instant complaint, they have also filed complaints against the Proposed Respondents in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina alleging infringement of the Asserted Patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Complainants request that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.`