News on June 14, the verdict in the first instance of Ultravision’s intellectual property lawsuit, which lasted more than two years, was reached on June 12, the first instance in the United States District Court of Texas affirmed that the respondent did not constitute patent infringement and the plaintiff’s patent was invalid, and finally affirmed that the Chinese LED companies won the lawsuit.
The industry believes that the victory of this case will bring a huge impact on the entire industry, and it is also a landmark victory for Chinese LED display in the US patent infringement and 337 investigation cases (under Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930).
In June 2019, Ultravision filed an intellectual property infringement lawsuit against 11 Chinese LED display companies as well as international companies such as Samsung, Barco, Prismaflex, etc. to the Eastern District Court of Texas.
On March 27, 2018, Ultravision filed an application for 337 Investigation to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), claimed that the export, import and sale of Chinese-specific modular LED display panels and their components from China infringed its intellectual property rights, alleged that 11 Chinese companies, including Liantronics, Absen, Unilumin Technology, Leyard, Aoto Electronics, etc. infringed two of its patents on LED display modules, and requested for general exclusion, limited exclusion and injunction orders.
It is learned that in 337 investigation relating intellectual property, regardless of the US enterprise (natural person) or the non-US enterprise (natural person), as long as it thinks that the import products violate its patent rights, trademark rights, copyrights or rights of a layout-design of integrated circuits those registered in the United States, meanwhile can prove the existence or development of a corresponding domestic industry in the United States, it can file an application for 337 investigation to the US ITC in accordance with the law.
On May 24, 2018, the US ITC voted to initiate a 337 investigation (investigation code: 337-TA-1114) for specific modular LED display panels and their components.
On November 27, 2018, Ultravision filed a motion with the US ITC to terminate the investigation.
On January 31, 2019, the US ITC issued a preliminary decision (Order No. 29) granting the termination motion of Ultravision.
On February 21, 2019, the US ITC officially issued the decision: not to review the preliminary decision of the ITC judge. Regarding the patent infringement case initiated by an American company against the Chinese LED display enterprises on March 27, 2018, the plaintiff now unconditionally withdrew the lawsuit, and the investigation of LED display 337 case has officially ended.
The China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufactures Association said in a statement at the time that the incident was a speculative activity by a few American companies in the context of China and the United States at the time, and that it would “organize industry resources and strength to actively respond to this 337 investigation”.
The China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufactures Association also said that Ultravision Technologies, which was founded in 2010, had two patents with waterproofing as its main appeal and had no substantial protection effectiveness. The patents did not substantially restrict or harm Chinese LED display companies exporting to the United States. In fact, the products with the patent features were sold in the United States market by several companies long before the patents were filed, so there is considerable doubt about the stability of the patents. At the same time, these patents did not belong to the core key technology of LED display screen, and whether the relevant product technology of Chinese enterprises constitutes infringement to it remains to be confirmed. 337 investigation is a complex and lengthy process of specific evidence collection and infringement identification, and the final result is uncertain.
The victory in this case has huge implications for the entire industry, and is also a landmark victory for Chinese LED display in the US patent infringement and 337 investigation cases.
In the face of strong resistance from American competitors, our Chinese LED enterprises succeed “counterattack”, which brings us deep thinking: In today’s increasingly fierce competition in the global market, intellectual property rights have become the international game rules that enterprises cannot escape. Without core technologies, independent intellectual property rights and the courage to “show sword”, enterprises will be unable to make any progress.