National

Inventor of blue LED angry with settlement

The inventor of the blue light-emitting diode said Wednesday he was forced to settle with Nichia Corp. out of court for ¥843 million over the diode patent.

Shuji Nakamura, currently a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, arrived in Tokyo a day after the deal was reached in the Tokyo High Court and angrily told a news conference he was “forced into reaching a settlement” in the high-profile case.

Last year, the Tokyo District Court ordered Nichia to pay the researcher 20 billion yen for his development of the landmark technology. Both sides had appealed the ruling.

“The high court practically did not read the reams of documents I presented and had decided on the amount for the settlement from the outset,” Nakamura said. “Can this be called the judgment of justice? I came to Japan just so I could say this.”

In the settlement, the high court deemed the patent’s worth was ¥600 million, about 1 percent of the roughly ¥60.4 billion recognized by the district court.

Nakamura said he repeatedly told his lawyer that he wanted to take the case to the Supreme Court so long as there was even “a 0.1 percent chance” of winning the case.

However, he later decided to settle because he believed the high court would have awarded him an even lesser amount if the case had gone to sentencing and the Supreme Court would have only debated the legal aspects of the case.

He said he was glad that he had not taken further legal action and was relieved to finally be able to concentrate on his work.

“The ¥20,000 I was awarded (by Nichia) at the time of the invention multiplied this much (to the settlement amount), and Japanese firms have undergone a complete change” in the way they reward their researchers, he said.

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