Frequently Asked Questions

For any additional questions, please visit our Contact page.

UC Santa Barbara is seeking a reasonable royalty from the defendants. The royalty that is reasonable for a given defendant will depend on a variety of factors. UC Santa Barbara encourages retailers to make filament LED lighting products widely available to the public so that the benefits of this technology can have a significant impact, so long as those retailers obtain a license from UC Santa Barbara and pay a reasonable royalty.

UC Santa Barbara’s patents afford it the right to prevent manufacturing, use, sale and importation of infringing products.  

The manufacturers of the infringing products in this case are based largely in China, making it impractical and potentially ineffective for UC Santa Barbara to pursue legal action against them. The retailers are where infringement is visible to UC Santa Barbara. These retailers have the means and responsibility to ensure that the products they offer come from legitimate sources and/or are licensed under applicable patents.  However, they have not upheld that responsibility and instead have provided an outlet for infringing goods from foreign sources, depriving UC Santa Barbara of revenue to which it is lawfully entitled -- revenue that would support further research, education, and development of cutting-edge technologies and new scientific insights that also benefit the public. Retailers sell many millions of dollars’ worth of light bulbs with the patented filament LED technology.  We want to ensure they are authorized to do so and share a reasonable royalty with UC Santa Barbara in exchange for that authorization. Retailers that are unwilling to adhere to that standard cannot be allowed to profit off of UC Santa Barbara’s inventions or unfairly compete with companies who pay royalties.

UC Santa Barbara is offering retailers licenses to become “Authorized Retailers” so they can source their filament LED light bulbs from any source they like as long as they pay the appropriate royalties to UC Santa Barbara.

No, patent trolls do not undertake the massive investments in research and education that are commonplace at universities to generate scientific knowledge and new technologies that can benefit the public.  Once universities create new intellectual property through their research, they typically do not commercialize the intellectual property themselves.  Rather, working through their technology transfer offices, universities’ intellectual property rights are licensed to the private sector to bring academic innovations to the marketplace. Because many in the private sector have not respected UC Santa Barbara’s patent rights, despite its many efforts to license this technology, this approach became necessary. The goals of these lawsuits are to address the infringement of UC Santa Barbara’s intellectual property while changing the way universities’ intellectual property rights are respected, ensuring that universities are recognized for the research and creation of innovative technologies. In turn, the royalties secured through this licensing campaign and any damages awarded in litigation will supplement the funding that UC Santa Barbara receives from taxpayers, student tuition and the generosity of donors to support research and education.

As a nonprofit institution, UC Santa Barbara’s research has been conducted for the purpose of education and to advance the understanding of science and the world around us, and many students, professors and others have been recognized for their academic accomplishments pertaining to this technology through hundreds of academic publications.  However, the intellectual property that resulted from the research is a university asset that must be respected by the private sector. 

UC Santa Barbara is using a litigation financing firm in place of university resources to finance the litigation. The use of a litigation financing firm made it possible for UC Santa Barbara to assert its intellectual property rights without spending university resources on litigation.

As the seller of patented filament LED technology, you are responsible for ensuring that your products are licensed under applicable patents. UC Santa Barbara is offering businesses licenses to become “Authorized Retailers” so they can source their filament LED light bulbs from any source they want, as long as they pay the appropriate royalties to UC Santa Barbara. Businesses that choose to sell this technology without a license from UC Santa Barbara may face legal action.

Through this license, UC Santa Barbara will receive the compensation it is rightfully owed for exploitation of the patents and can reinvest in research and education. 

Retailers that are interested in learning more about a license can connect with UC Santa Barbara via our Contact page.

Nixon Peabody is a leading international law firm with more than 600 attorneys focusing on litigation, intellectual property, corporate law and other areas of legal practice across industries.  The firm has a long history of representing academic institutions around the country and overseas.
More information on Nixon Peabody can be found at the firm’s website.