Cree and Nichia Announce Patent Cross License Agreement and Settlement of Litigation
Durham, North Carolina, and Anan, Tokushima, November 6, 2002 - Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) and Nichia Corporation, world leaders in nitride LED and laser technology, today announced that they have entered into a patent cross license agreement and settlement of litigation between the companies concerning gallium nitride-based optoelectronic technology. The agreement will end all litigation between the companies and should allow the companies to focus more resources on developing technology for next generation high brightness LEDs, laser diodes and LED based lighting.
Noboru Tazaki, Senior Managing Director and Division Chief of the Optoelectronics Products Division of Nichia Corporation, said "This cross license and settlement of litigation with Cree, Inc. is almost the final step of our aggressive plan of licensing and settlement of patent issues for this year. This is also a good time for both companies to focus on the development and improvements in technology, production and market development."
Chuck Swoboda, Cree's President and CEO stated, "This settlement represents an important step forward for Cree, Nichia, and the entire nitride optoelectronic industry. I believe this agreement is a recognition of the leadership that Nichia and Cree have demonstrated in both technology and intellectual property and should allow us to focus more of our resources on developing products to support the growing demand for blue, green and white LEDs, as well as UV and violet laser diodes."
Cree also reported that its revenue and earnings targets for the current quarter remain unchanged from those previously announced. As a result of this settlement, Cree targets a significant reduction in G&A expenses due to a reduction in legal costs beginning in the third fiscal quarter.
About Cree, Inc.
Cree is an advanced semiconductor company that leverages its expertise in silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon (Si) materials technology to produce new and enabling semiconductors. The products include blue, green and ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diodes (LEDs), near UV lasers, radio frequency (RF) and microwave devices, and power switching devices. Targeted applications for these products include solid state illumination, optical storage, wireless infrastructure and power switching. For more information on Cree, please visit www.cree.com.
About Nichia Corporation
Nichia is recognized as a world leader in indium gallium nitride (InGaN) LED and laser diode technology. In 1993 and 1994, Nichia developed the world's first high brightness InGaN blue and green LEDs. In 1995, Nichia demonstrated the world's first InGaN violet laser diode operating in pulsed operation at room-temperature. In 1996, Nichia developed a white LED by covering an InGaN blue LED with phosphor (thereby mixing blue light and down-converted yellow light to create white light). And in 1999, Nichia began commercial sales of InGaN violet laser diodes; a sampling program of 440 nm blue laser diodes followed in 2001. Nichia was established in Japan in 1956 to manufacture calcium phosphate used in the production of fluorescent lamp phosphors. Since that time, Nichia has grown in the field of manufacturing and sales of fine chemicals, particularly inorganic luminescent materials (phosphors), high brightness InGaN LEDs, and InGaN laser diodes. Nichia is headquartered in Anan, Tokushima, Japan and has operations throughout the world, including Nichia America Corporation, a U.S. subsidiary based in Mountville, Pennsylvania. Please visit www.nichia.co.jp for more information.
Cautionary Statement of Cree, Inc.
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Cree's business involving risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results could differ due to a number of factors, including risks associated with the production ramp-up for new products; risks the company may be unable to achieve necessary improvements to these products as well as the possibility of unexpected delays or other difficulties in ramping up production of the new products; risks resulting from the concentration of our business among few customers including the risk that customers may reduce or cancel orders or fail to honor purchase commitments; uncertain product demand; risks from increased competition; uncertainty regarding economic conditions; uncertainty whether we can achieve our targets for increased yields and cost reductions needed to protect our margins; risks that our investments in third parties will generate losses; and other factors discussed in Cree's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2002.