On Friday, October 22, 2004 more than 40 LED lighting systems manufacturers met at The Entertainment Technology Show-LDI2004 to voice their concern over the past and most recent Color Kinetics patents. The key participants at the meeting were Wayne Howell of Artistic Licence, Nils Thorjussen of Element Labs, Tom Fay of TPR Enterprises, Doug Fleenor of Doug Fleenor Design, Banly Cheung of NCQ Holdings Ltd, John Ortiz of NSI, Chris Ewington of James Thomas Engineering, Bill Little of Advanced Lighting, Brett Kingstone and Mike Bauer of Super Vision, and Wayne Crosby, legal counsel for Super Vision.
“Almost all the participants voiced their concerns with the wholesale attempts at patenting prior art in the industry that has been employed by lighting manufacturers and designers for the last two decades,” notes Brett Kingstone of Super Vision.
Super Vision, who took the lead in bringing a declaratory judgment action against Color Kinetics' patents, had asked the industry for both financial support and additional prior art evidence support in this case. Kingstone reports that the industry manufacturers in attendance have decided to band together and encourage their trade associations to oppose the early Color Kinetics patents on the use of pulse width modulation in variable controlled LED lighting fixtures. They are also concerned about the newly approved patents on the use of DMX control technology in conjunction with LED lighting systems.
Color Kinetics now holds 37 issued patents, with more than 120 patent applications pending. The company responded to the meeting with a statement defending their OEM and licensing practices, stating: “From what we've heard about the meeting, the baseless allegations waged reveal a complete misunderstanding of patent law, an even more complete misunderstanding of Color Kinetics' patents, and an apparent blindness to our open OEM and licensing program.”
For the full story, reactions from the meeting participants, and Color Kinetics’ full official response, stay tuned for LD’s December issue.