Cases & Deals

Wolfspeed wins CAFC affirmance of non-infringement jury verdict against patent infringement claims relating to its LED light bulb business

Client(s) Wolfspeed, Inc.

On behalf of Wolfspeed, Inc. (f.k.a. Cree, Inc.), Jones Day won a jury verdict and Federal Circuit affirmance of non-infringement in defending against a wide-ranging complaint originally brought in Arizona federal court by OptoLum, Inc. in 2016 concerning Cree's LED light bulb business. The complaint originally alleged counts of unfair trade under the Lanham Act, unjust enrichment, and patent infringement concerning three patents relating to Cree's sales of light bulbs. Jones Day sought and obtained dismissal on the pleadings concerning the Lanham Act and unjust enrichment allegations and OptoLum dropped one of the patent infringement counts. After the Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods concerning the appropriate venue standard, Jones Day moved for and obtained a transfer of the Arizona case to the Middle District of North Carolina based on the change in venue law. The case finally proceeded to trial on October 25, 2021.  During trial, Plaintiff’s allegations concerning infringement under the doctrine of equivalents and willfulness were dismissed on motions for judgment as a matter of law. On November 9, 2021, the eight member North Carolina jury unanimously found in favor of Cree for non-infringement on the remaining infringement allegations.  On appeal to the Federal Circuit, the non-infringement judgment was affirmed on June 12, 2023.  The appeal argument was based on claim construction, prosecution history estoppel and a Daubert challenge to damages testimony.  The decision of the District Court was affirmed on all grounds. 

Optolum, Inc. v. Cree, Inc., Case No. 1-17-cv-00687 (M.D.N.C.); Appeal No. 2022-1511 (Fed. Cir.)