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A Japanese inventor and his former employer reached a settlement Tuesday in a high-profile dispute over a lucrative lighting technology patent, court and company officials said. The case of Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has symbolized the struggle of the individual worker against companies over intellectual property in a nation where selfless corporate devotion has long been the rule. Tokyo High Court spokesman Koji Suwabe confirmed the settlement between Nakamura and Nichia Corp. but would not disclose details. Company spokeswoman Mitsue Abe also confirmed the agreement but did not elaborate. In Japan, such settlements are often reached with the help of court officials. Last year, Nakamura won a landmark case, in which the Tokyo District Court ordered his former employer Nichia to pay him $192 million for developing patents for the blue light-emitting diode, or LED, widely used in traffic signals, mobile phones, illumination and other products. The patents have earned the company millions of dollars per year, but Nakamura was paid a token bonus. The company has argued that his work was a team effort, and that Nakamura’s invention was possible only because of support from the company and other workers. The lower court ruling had found that Nakamura’s contribution to the invention was worth $576 million based on company sales and licensing fees. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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