Cree goes after flashlight maker over counterfeit LEDs

Article By : Carolyn Mathas

Cree has identified five patents that the Tac Light flashlight violates.

Cree is calling out U.S.-based E. Mishan & Sons, Inc. (Emson), which it claims has infringed its patented LED technology used in Emson flashlights, including the Bell & Howell Tac Light.

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It appears that Cree notified Emson regarding their claims this past August, but the products remained on the market, causing Cree to claim intentional and wilful infringement.

Emson has since bought four patents to protect its Tac Light lanterns from the Coleman Company, however the press release does not claim exactly what the patents covered. Emson is an investor, importer and distributor of “As Seen on TV” products with such brands as Bell & Howell and The Sharper Image.

In the court filing, Cree identified five patents that the Tac Light flashlight violates. In the letter sent to Emson in August, Cree claimed the flashlight uses an LED component that is a counterfeit of its XLamp XM-L, and included side-by-side images of the LEDs.

[Cree LED vs counterfeit (cr)]
__Figure 1:__ *The Cree XLamp XM-L LED vs the counterfeit from the Tac Light flashlight.*

Cree's analysis of the flashlight uncovered several patent infringements that it investigated and included in its suit.

[Cree patent LED vs counterfeit (cr)]
__Figure 2:__ *Cree’s patent 7808013 was shown to cover several things it identified in the Tac Light flashlight.*

Dave Emerson, senior vice president and general manager for Cree LEDs, promises to aggressively defend its patents as well as to ensure that the LEDs used are the high quality Cree customers expect. As part of the complaint, Cree is seeking an award of damages, attorneys’ fees and an injunction to prevent Emson from selling knock-off LED products. Emson is already involved with suits filed by others, including Telebrands, Avenue Innovations and Brite-Strike Technologies.

Emson is also not the only company Cree is battling in court. It is involved with suits including trademark cases against eBay sellers, and was recently named as a defendant in an infringement suit brought by OptoLum Incorporated.

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