Light-emitting diodes, better know as LEDs, have been a seemingly endless source of inspiration for high-tech inventors. But as the underlying components for the versatile lighting technology continue to rapidly evolve, intellectual property management has become a much more competitive pursuit in recent years.
According to LED Magazine contributors Jackie Maguire and David Segal, the long road between initial product development and commercial success leaves plenty of opportunity for unsuspecting inventors to be tripped up by claims of patent infringement.
"A good IP strategy involves understanding exactly what intangible assets both you and your competitors have and their value, and also how to commercialize as well as protect them," Maguire and Segal wrote in the September issue.
Protection involves not only keeping inventions safe from prying eyes, but also guarding against accidentally stepping on somebody else's toes in the process. The latter could be more significant within the LED industry, according to the article, considering the wide array of scientific disciplines the lighting technology relies upon. As such, careful and continuous patent searches are essential.
While this process often requires years of due diligence, the dividends can be significant. According to EDN, iWatt's impressive share of the mobile LED market has come from a systematic approach to innovation. If its proprietary technologies had been stymied in litigation controversies early on, the company may never have been able to carve out a spot in the lucrative mobile device display segment that has emerged years later.