Nichia and Mitsubishi Chemical Reach Agreement on Patent Cross-licensing Related to Red Phosphor for White LEDs

Nichia Corporation (Nichia; Head office: Anan-shi, Tokushima; President: Eiji Ogawa), Citizen Electronics Co., Ltd. (Citizen; Head office: Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture; President: Yoshihiro Goda), Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC; Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Hiroaki Ishizuka), and National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; Location: Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda), today announced that Nichia and MCC have concluded a cross-licensing agreement for patents of nitride-type red phosphor (Note 1), which is widely used in white light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The conventional white LED using a yellow phosphor has been available over the years, but its white light had less of a reddish component than natural light. The nitride-type red phosphor, called CASN or SCASN phosphor (or 1113 phosphor), adds this reddish component, which could not otherwise be achieved, to white LEDs. This creates a white light that is closer to natural light. The white LEDs containing this red phosphor is also used in various lighting applications and in backlighting for LCD panels.

In 2010, Nichia and MCC reached a basic agreement on cross-licensing of the red phosphor patents each company owns. Since then, both companies continued detailed discussions with NIMS, and all parties have now reached an accord on the final content of the agreement.

The patents targeted by the cross-licensing in the agreement include Nichia’s patents and MCC and NIMS’s patents , as described at the end (Note 2). In addition, the companies also announced that Nichia, Citizen, MCC, and NIMS have reached an agreement to share the U.S. patent (No. 8409470), which is one of the basic patents that MCC and NIMS co-own at the present time.

The companies expect the conclusion of the cross-licensing agreement and shared U.S. patent to further stabilize their patent rights related to the red phosphor, and enhance the business base of Nichia and MCC.

Nichia, Citizen, MCC, and NIMS will continue their initiatives to expand the white LED market using the red phosphor.
Note 1:
A phosphor with a basic composition of (Sr, Ca) AlSiN3: Eu, etc. It is a red phosphor, which is most broadly used for white LEDs thanks to its high brightness and reliability. This phosphor is generally called CASN or SCASN phosphor, or 1113 phosphor.

Note 2:
A typical example of patents targeted by the cross-licensing agreement

Patents owned by MCC, NIMS
JP3837588, US8409470, KR10-0816693, CNZL200480040967.7, TWI317755, JP4234161, JP4070219, US8148887, KR10-1204413, CNZL200580005112.5, TWI-278128, etc.

Patents owned by Nichia
JP4414821, JP4415065, JP4422653, JP4511849, JP4511885, US7273568, US7432647, US7476337, US7476338, EP1568753, EP1630219, etc. *These patents are co-owned by Nichia and Dowa Electronics Materials Co., Ltd. at the present time, but the ownership will be changed to Nichia and Citizen after conclusion of this cross-licensing agreement.

Contact information;
Public Relations, Nichia Corporation