Boston University is hauling Amazon.com Inc. into court for using light-emitting diode components that allegedly infringe a university-owned patent in Kindle products.
The school filed Trustees of Boston University v. Amazon.com Inc. in the District of Massachusetts on Wednesday. It claims the Kindle Paperwhite Six-Inch Display and the Kindle Fire LCD Seven-inch display contain the infringing part.
The university said it targeted the online retailer because South Korean manufacturer Seoul Semiconductor Ltd. refused to accept legal liability for customers that buy its infringing components overseas and import them into the United States.
Boston University filed a separate patent infringement case in Boston federal court against Seoul Semiconductor in October.
The university’s patent for "highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films," at issue, according to one of its lawyers, Michael Shore, a partner at Shore Chan DePumpo in Dallas. "It’s what basically lights up the screen," he said.
Shore said the university gave Seoul Semiconductor "every opportunity in the world to come up with a settlement. At the end of the day they said they’re not going to protect their customers or indemnify their customers. They dared us to sue their customers," Shore said.
Amazon.com "has lots of choices" including buying licensed products, he said. "We don’t like having to sue the customers. When the manufacturer is this irresponsible, there’s not much we can do," he said.
Lawyers at Newark, N.J.-based McCarter & English are local counsel for the university in the Amazon.com case.
Amazon.com does not have lawyers listed on the case and did not respond to requests for comment. Seoul Semiconductor officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Contact Sheri Qualters at firstname.lastname@example.org.