Amazon, Walmart, Target Corp, Ikea AB and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc were accused of infringing four patents related to “filament” LED light bulbs, which use 90% less energy and last many years longer than traditional light bulbs.
These patents relate to what the university called the “reinvention of the light bulb” by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara led by professor Shuji Nakamura, who won the 2014 Nobel prize for physics.
The university is seeking unspecified damages, including royalties, in lawsuits filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, and wants the retailers to enter license agreements.
It has also asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to open a probe into the retailers’ conduct, saying the retailers have failed to require their suppliers to honor the university’s patents.
None of the retailers immediately responded to requests for comment.