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Aug 19, 2013 08:03 AM EDT

Boston Sues Vyrian Over LED Patent

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Boston University has filed yet another LED patent lawsuit against Vyrian, Inc., in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts for distributing three Samsung products that contained a thin film semiconductor device, which the university claims to have patented.

The university officials claim that the device found in the products was invented by electrical and computer engineering professor Dr. Theodore D. Moustakas in 1997. According to the Trustees of Boston, Moustakas is the named inventor of patent 5,686,738 titled 'Highly Insulating Monocrystalline Gallium Nitride Thin Films.'

Similar lawsuits were filed against Apple, Samsung, Amazon, HP and LG in early August, and two LED manufacturers over the same LED patent.

"Defendant's acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause substantial and irreparable damage to the University," BU said.

The university is demanding an immediate end to the sale of the alleged patent-offending products, in addition to damages and fees.

"We've definitely seen a step up in university patent lawsuits," said Mark Lemley, a patent expert at Stanford University Law School. "Universities have been cash-strapped in the last several years with the economic downturn, and this looks like a good source of revenue. They're also looking around and everyone else is doing it."

The colleges and universities across the country started considering patent lawsuits as additional financial resources when a jury announced a verdict in favor of Carnegie Mellon University and awarded about $1.2 billion in a patent lawsuit in December against Marvell Technology Group and Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

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