LED lighting is quite popular in many venues these days including trendy restaurants and other places of food and drink. This type of LED lighting is the bulb that has clear glass and surrounds the lit filament. Even though they are fashioned according to the ones that Thomas Edison had invented, they are more energy efficient nowadays with the technology of LED.

Right now there is a major lawsuit going on about these bulbs. There are five well-known and large retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond and Target who have been sued by the University of California in Santa Barbara. The reason for the UCSB lawsuit against these retailers is that the researchers at the university have patented the technology of LED bulbs back at the turn of this century. The stores have not paid any royalties to these researchers and the lawsuit was filed to have that corrected.

This lawsuit was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission and also several suits that are civil in the federal court of Los Angeles. UCSB is asking for a reasonable settlement to help cover the patents. They are also offering the retailers licenses so that they will be able to source these LED bulbs, pay the UCSB their royalties, and become retailers that are authorized to do so.

The university has said that the technology that had designed the bulbs was developed by their Solid State Lighting and Energy Center. The big change was using clear glass over the filament instead of the opaque glass that was previously used. Even though UCSB had already asked these retailers to license the bulbs, they had still sold them and had infringed on their patent. The patent actually belongs to a public institution and that is California itself.

The year 2014 is when these LED bulbs became available. Their sales have already been projected to be over $1 billion. UCSB actually owns many patents that have to do with LED lighting. The sales have profited these retailers right from the beginning even though the UCSB has been trying to contact the infringers to establish licenses.

The solution that UCSB has now tried is to end any imports into the U.S. to these stores instead of contacting the actual manufacturers. Shuji Nakamura is a Nobel Prize laureate and is not only one of the inventors but the creator of the blue LED. In 2014, he was also a major part of the group that began the process to whiten the LED.

Universities are struggling to receive funding with the tuition always going up. The deals in licensing would be a big help to UCSB if they win this lawsuit against the retailers. The case has been litigated. It could take anywhere from 15 to 18 months to complete.