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Nichia deposits ¥10 billion in spat over patent royalties

Chemical maker Nichia Corp. deposited ¥10 billion at the Justice Ministry after a court approved its request to block the execution of a January ruling ordering it to pay ¥20 billion  to the inventor of a key semiconductor device, Nichia officials said Saturday.

The company submitted the sum with the ministry’s Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau immediately after the ruling Jan. 31 by the Tokyo District Court, the officials said.

The ruling ordered Nichia to pay the award to Shuji Nakamura, 49, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who developed the blue light-emitting diode while working at Nichia. The amount was the largest ever in Japan for the transfer of patent rights.

The ruling also granted Nakamura the right to seek a provisional execution of the ruling and demand the payment before the completion of the appeals process.

Nichia immediately appealed the ruling to the Tokyo High Court. Nakamura said he assumed the case will go to the Supreme Court, adding he will not ask for the provisional execution of the ruling and the payment.

A court decides on the deposit amount for such requests based on the amount awarded in a ruling.

The blue LED, which emits blue light when electricity passes through it, was a revolutionary invention. The court concluded that Nichia had earned ¥120.8 billion on it.

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