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Boston U claims LED patent, files against tech giants

Apple, Amazon, Samsung splattered by sueballs

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Boston University, which last year assessed the cost of “patent trolling” in the American economy at $US29 billion, has fired its litigation gun at a slew of tech companies – including Apple.

Since October 2012 – incidentally the month in which its cost-of-trolling research was released – the university has been filing lawsuits centred around the semiconductor technology used to make LEDs.

Among its targets are Apple's iPhone and iPad, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite and Fire, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 and Chromebook.

The lawsuits cite one or both of two patents filed by a long-time electrical engineering professor at the university, Thomas Moustakas: US5686738 A covers “highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films”, while US6953703 B2 covers a “Method of making a semiconductor device with exposure of sapphire substrate to activated nitrogen”.

Among other things, Moustakas' technologies are used in LED manufacture, and his bio at the university lists Osram, Philips, Cree and Nichia as licensees.

BU's legal claim includes the usual request that the court ban the sale of the infringing device.

As an example of the claim, here's the university's filing against Apple on Scribd. ®

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