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About the Inventors

The patents asserted in these cases were invented through the leadership of three award-winning inventors and UC Santa Barbara professors, Shuji Nakamura, Steven DenBaars and James Speck. The three co-founded UC Santa Barbara’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (“SSLEEC”).


Shuji Nakamura

Professor Shuji Nakamura is a tenured professor at UC Santa Barbara, a co-Director of SSLEEC, and an inventor of each of the UC Santa Barbara patents asserted in these cases. 
In addition to numerous industry awards and recognitions, Professor Nakamura was honored as the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014. He began researching high-efficiency blue LEDs (which are necessary to create white light with LEDs) in the late 1980’s, and his former employer began selling white LEDs enabled by his invention in the mid-1990s. 
Professor Nakamura has been a professor at UC Santa Barbara since 2000 and is an inventor on more than 200 U.S. patents in addition to over 175 Japanese patents. He has published over 550 papers in his field

Steven DenBaars

Professor Steven DenBaars is a tenured professor at UC Santa Barbara, a co-Director of SSLEEC, and an inventor of each of the UC Santa Barbara patents asserted in these cases. 
Professor DenBaars is The Mitsubishi Chemical Professor in Solid State Lighting & Display at UC Santa Barbara. Prior to UC Santa Barbara, he was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard Optoelectronics, where he contributed to the growth and fabrication of visible LEDs, focusing specifically on high brightness red LEDs. 
He is the recipient of the National Scientist Foundation Young Investigator Award (1994), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Fellow Award (2005) and the IEEE Aron Kressel Award (2010). Professor DenBaars is a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). 
He joined UC Santa Barbara in 1991 and helped pioneer the field of solid-state lighting, including the first US university demonstration of a Blue Gallium Nitride laser diode.

James Speck

Professor James Speck co-founded SSLEEC with Professors Nakamura and DenBaars and is an inventor of one of the patents asserted in these cases. He has been a member of the UC Santa Barbara faculty since 1990, and currently holds the Seoul Semiconductor Chair in Solid State Lighting at UC Santa Barbara. 
Professor Speck received the Quantum Device Award from the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors in 2007, was named an inaugural Materials Research Society Fellow in 2008, and received the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics Best Paper Award in 2008. In 2009, he became an American Physical Society Fellow. In 2010 he received the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award for his work on nonpolar and semipolar Gallium Nitride-based materials and devices. 
Professor Speck has authored over 600 publications and is an inventor on over 100 US patents.

UC Santa Barbara’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (“SSLEEC”)

SSLEEC is the culmination of nearly two decades of visionary research into solid state lighting and power switching. Recognizing the need for energy-efficient lighting technologies, UC Santa Barbara, along with industry partners, have funded groundbreaking research at SSLEEC and its predecessor entities that have led to more energy-efficient solutions for lighting, cell phones, computers, appliances, automobiles, industrial equipment, and power distribution systems.

SSLEEC consists of approximately a dozen faculty members, thirty graduate students, and twenty staff, including internationally recognized researchers and visiting scholars. The faculty and researches of SSLEEC and its predecessors have published thousands of peer-reviewed publications and have amassed a portfolio of over 250 issued patents. Since its inception, SSLEEC has conferred approximately 100 Ph.D. degrees. SSLEEC’s principal investigators and faculty count among themselves a Nobel Prize, a Millennium Technology Prize, and a Technology & Engineering Emmy award. Among SSLEEC’s staff are five members of the National Academy of Engineers and three members of the National Academy of Inventors.