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Big trouble for retail LED market

1462 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Minsc
If you're one of the people that have been waiting for reasonably-priced LED lighting that you can buy at your LFS or online, you may be in for a longer wait. A company called Orbitec is claiming patent infringements against PFO, the maker of the (rather expensive) Solaris and (less-expensive but still pricey) Galileo LED lines. Other companies that have been making or developing LED fixtures are hunkering down and waiting to see how this all plays out. PFO has laid off all of its staff.
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I heard about that. Lets all ope that Orbitec loses the lawsuit.

The most ridiculous thing about it is that PFO started selling the Solaris before Orbitec filed for a patent!
While I hope that PFO gets through this OK, Orbitec did file the patent back in 2004. It wasn't fully granted until 2006, but it went "pending" in 2004, which affords them protection. It's sad that a company that was customer-focused like PFO gets caught up in an extremely broad patent ("LED lighting in a marine application") but I'm even sadder that we will have to wait for good retail LED lighting until the market and the courts figure it all out - nobody else will put out an LED solution until this is settled, which could take years.
I've also heard that if your current fixture needs fixed, they can't even repair it for you until this patent infringement is settled. Is that true?
That's what some of the reef sites are saying. They're not responding to phone calls or emails. Without any staff (laid off) I guess nothing is happening.
It's a shame to have it happen like that. Even bigger disappointment to spend that much on a LED fixture only to have no support or anticipation of a repair if it goes bad.
I just thought of a possible loophole in their patent[smilie=u:, It's called "LED lighting in a marine application" so presumably you could build and market an LED light for growing freshwater plants and avoid a lawsuit:rolleyes:
From what little I know of patent law, that sounds like much too broad a concept to be enforceable.
It might be possible to patent the use of a specific type of LED for an application, but all LEDs over any fishtank? I doubt it will hold up in court.
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