Thu, Oct 04, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Court rejects Epistar request to stay ban on shipments to US

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Epistar Corp (晶元光電), the nation's largest maker of chips for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), said the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals late last month allowed the company to appeal a ruling in a patent infringement lawsuit brought against it by a unit of Royal Philips Electronics NV.

However, the Hsinchu-based company said that the US appeals court had rejected its request to stay an International Trade Commission (ITC) limited exclusion order prohibiting importation of some Epistar products into the US.

Epistar reported the decision in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, after Chinese-language online news outlet cnyes.com, citing a Reuters report, said earlier yesterday that the US court had turned down the appeal and that US customs authorities had banned the company's products from entering the country.

Epistar said in the filing that US Customs had agreed to the importation of the company's latest generation of ultra bright LED products distributed by Phoenix and Aquarius into the US, because the patent infringements did not concern them.

Shares of Epistar dropped NT$6.5, or 4.14 percent, to close at NT$150.5 yesterday. The stock has declined by 13.51 percent since this year's peak of NT$174 on July 23 but has risen 53.58 percent this year.

The ITC ruled in May that Epistar products with OMA, MB and GB LED chips would not be allowed on the US market because they infringed on a patent owned by San Jose, California-based Philips Lumileds Lighting Co. The ban was approved by the administration of US President George W. Bush in July.

In response, Epistar requested that the ITC and the US appeals court postpone the limited exclusion order while the company appeals the ruling. The Washington-based ITC rejected the request to stay enforcement of the ban in August.

In yesterday's filing, Epistar said it disagreed with the ITC ruling in May. The company also said it had not infringed on Philips Lumileds' patents.

Philips, Europe's largest maker of consumer electronics, acquired Lumileds from Agilent Technologies in 2005.

Calls to Epistar vice general manager and spokesman Rider Chang (張世賢) for comment were not immediately returned.

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