Two LED chip makers, Taiwan-based Epistar Corporation and Japan's Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd., have signed a cross-license agreement to allow the companies to use each other’s patents for specific LED technologies. The deal covers Group III-V compound semiconductor LEDs, including InGaN-based (blue and green) and AlGaInP-based (red and orange) LEDs, and also includes subsidiaries of the two companies.
Epistar's press release says it is "the only company in Taiwan, ROC, getting the cross license from Toyoda Gosei and no any other company in Taiwan gets any cross license from Toyoda Gosei until the date of this press release."
Epistar says that it holds "valuable" LED patents for high-brightness AlGaInP LEDs and high-power GaN LEDs, and Toyoda Gosei likewise holds a number of "valuable" patents for InGaN LEDs.
Epistar and Toyoda Gosei say that they have agreed to "construct an environment wherein they will respect and mutually utilize each other’s technologies in order to further advance the market for LED products."
This agreement will allow both Epistar and Toyoda Gosei significantly more freedom in their development efforts by eliminating the need for concern about each other’s patents. This in turn will allow the companies to independently carry out research to improve LED performance.
The companies say that they "intend to maintain a friendly business relationship and pursue the development of superior high-luminosity LEDs and further expansion of the LED market through fair competition."
Toyda Gosei signed patent agreements with Sharp and Showa Denko in 2009, and has also signed agreements with Nichia, Lumileds, Osram, Cree and Seoul Semiconductor.
Epistar signed an agreement with Lumileds in 2009 relating to AlGaInP-based LEDs