Cree Announces Investigation Into International Patent Infringement

DURHAM, NC — Cree, Inc. announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to open an investigation into unfair trade practices by Feit Electric Company, Inc. and its Asian supplier, Unity Opto Technology Co., Ltd. The investigation includes allegations of infringement of 8 Cree patents related to LED lighting and Feit’s false and misleading advertising claims, including that certain of its products meet ENERGY STAR® specifications. The decision to open an investigation comes after Cree filed a complaint on January 12, 2015, requesting an investigation by the ITC. 

“We’re pleased with the ITC’s decision to open an investigation into this matter,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. “With nearly $1B investment in developing the fundamental technology that underlies LED lighting adoption, it is our obligation to protect our intellectual property. Through their actions, Feit and Unity Opto are enjoying an unfair advantage in the market and discouraging the development of new products that benefit consumers.”

The investigation is titled “Certain Light-Emitting Diode Products and Components Thereof, ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-747.” The ITC’s announcement to institute an investigation may be viewed here. (U.S International Trade Commission, ITC Investigation No. 337-TA-747).

In an e-mail to tED magazine, a Cree representative told us, “Cree is taking a stance to protect its research and development investments and intellectual property, and ensure fair market competition. These filings by Cree and action by the ITC bear significance for the broader LED lighting industry.  In order to realize the LED market growth (expected to account for 80% of lighting market by 2020) and energy savings potential of LED technologies, it’s critical that the industry cement consumer confidence in the quality of LED lighting.”


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