Cree Acts to Protect Its Intellectual Property in Consumer LED Lighting Market
Files Lawsuits at U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
DURHAM, NC -- Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) has filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Feit Electric Company, Inc. and its Asian supplier, Unity Opto Technology Co., Ltd., to curb infringement on Cree’s patented technologies and to address Feit’s false and misleading advertising claims that certain of its products meet ENERGY STAR® specifications. The suits allege infringement of 10 patents related to LED lighting.
“Cree fully supports competition, but it should be fair competition,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. “We have invested nearly $1 billion in R&D over the past 10 years to create fundamental technology that has enabled the LED lighting revolution. With more than 4,000 issued patents, we have an obligation to act to protect our shareholders and our licensing partners.”
As part of the complaint, Cree is requesting that the ITC issue an order to exclude infringing and falsely advertised articles from entry into the United States, and a cease and desist order that requires the respondents to cease selling infringing and falsely advertised LED bulbs in the U.S. Feit and Unity Opto are infringing Cree’s patents and misleading consumers with their advertising, thereby enjoying an unfair advantage in the market and discouraging the development of new products that benefit consumers.
Cree was the first to develop sophisticated technology to achieve omnidirectionality of light to replicate the experience of an incandescent bulb. As a result, Cree introduced the first sub $10 LED light bulb to U.S. consumers that looks and lights like an incandescent bulb. Through a series of tests, Cree determined that certain of Feit’s bulbs that carry the ENERGY STAR label fail critical performance requirements such as omnidirectional light distribution. As a result, consumers are purchasing bulbs, based on the trusted ENERGY STAR label, that do not perform as promised.
Cree has secured patents for its innovations that are hastening the adoption of energy-efficient technology since the company’s founding in 1987. Cree’s licensing program, which includes over 20 licensing partners, allows other companies to use its proprietary technology, and supports these organizations’ pursuit of new markets and products.
North Carolina-based Cree employs nearly 3,900 people across the United States.
Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, mercury-free LED lighting. Cree® is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting, and semiconductor products for power and radio frequency (RF) applications.
Cree’s product families include LED products and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and RF devices. Cree products are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, backlighting, electronic signs and signals, power suppliers and solar inverters.
Please refer to www.cree.com for additional product and company information.
This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk that the outcome of the ITC action and/or District Court action may be unfavorable in whole or in part; customer acceptance of new LED products; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render Cree’s products obsolete; and other factors discussed in Cree’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 29, 2014, and subsequent filings.
Cree® is a registered trademark of Cree, Inc. ENERGY STAR® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.