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UC Santa Barbara sues Amazon and IKEA over LED lighting



The controversy is about incandescent LED light bulbs, sometimes called "Edison" or "vintage" LED bulbs because they resemble Edison's iconic glass bulbs with incandescent filaments. Like other LEDs, they use 90 percent less energy than typical incandescent lamps and last for years. The filament LED technology, invented at UC Santa Barbara, has become so popular that the five retailers sell bulbs in mass quantities.

According to UC Santa Barbara, it tried to warn dealers about their infringement and establish licenses with them, but the university's efforts "have not been sufficient to address the ubiquitous and explosive violation in this industry." The university is now seeking unknown damages and license agreements with each retailer. It has also requested that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) launch an investigation into unauthorized imports of these "Edison" LEDs and potentially issue and terminate orders to prevent retailers from selling the LEDs without permission.

Sales of these LEDs are expected to increase one billion dollars by 201

9, according to court documents. While UC Santa Barbara is looking for its fair cut, the legal team says fee fees will help fund future inventions. "The goal of this campaign is to ensure that UC's patent rights are respected so that it can reinvest in education and research to create more world-changing technologies," said Seth Levy, a partner at Nixon Peabody. It also sends a message to the private sector not to mess with the universities' intellectual property rights.


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