Litepanels issues an intellectual property statement

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Litepanels has an official statement on their website on previous reports that the company is trying to block the import of third party LED lighting for photo and video in the US:

Litepanels Intellectual Property Statement

Is Litepanels trying to claim that they own the patent on all LED panel based video lights?

Litepanels filed for patent protection of its technology when we first began developing the application of LED for use in the media/creative arts of film, television and photography. We do not own patents on all LED technology. In fact, our patents specifically refer to the application of full spectrum, white LEDs for image capture in those mediums. Litepanels lighting products also include a number of preexisting technologies for which we pay licensing fees to the owners of those patents. We seek similar licensing agreements with companies that wish to use our intellectual property.

We are firm believers in free, fair competition and the patent system that allows our economy to flourish. In order to protect the specific technology we developed, Litepanels was required to prove the validity of our patents, and the facts of this particular case have been heard and decided in an unbiased and open forum. The defendants were allowed ample opportunity to present their best evidence and arguments against the validity of our patents, with the result that our claims to our intellectual property were upheld.

Why are these products patent-worthy?

Litepanels was founded by industry professionals with backgrounds in lighting, professional photography and engineering who understand and appreciate the importance of protecting intellectual property. In the entertainment and creative industries, intellectual property can be a screenplay or an iconic photograph. Our intellectual property consists of the technology which makes full spectrum, white light emitting diodes useful for illumination and proper image capture in the creative arts. The design, development and effective implementation of LED technology evidenced by our patented products took years to research, test, develop and manufacture.

Clearly LEDs alone cannot constitute a product sufficient for professional use in photographic applications. There are a number of technical challenges that had to be overcome before LEDs could be employed effectively for such purposes. These challenges included, but were not limited to: thermal management, precision of color temperature, smooth and flicker free dimming, and the requirements for alternate power input capability. Thereafter all of these technologies had to be combined in a way that would meet the high expectations of film, video and photography professionals.

We continue to develop, design and assemble innovative fixtures based around full spectrum, white LED technology, a pursuit which allows us to employ dozens of people in our Los Angeles office and assembly plant.

Is Litepanels trying to use their patents to block competition and force everyone to pay higher prices for LED lighting?

We are not trying to monopolize or block all LED lighting fixtures from the market. The recent ruling is directed at manufacturers who are unwilling to pay licensing fees and infringe on Litepanels’ intellectual property. In fact, there are a number of companies who have chosen to license our technology in order to build their own LED fixtures, just as we license some technology from others for our products. We welcome more manufacturers to license and implement our technology to ensure its widest possible acceptance throughout the market. We do not expect the results of these intellectual property conflicts to dramatically affect the prices of LED fixtures in the future.

There are also companies in the industry who have taken it upon themselves to establish their own research and development initiatives to create new kinds of LED fixtures and other innovative forms of lighting. They are not infringing on our patents and continue to bring welcomed innovation and healthy competition to the market.

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  • Pablo Ricasso

    If the ripoffs offered anything they say at all they would have no need to worry about other people offering the same product because they would be inferior. I hope the company disappears down a black hole along with it’s executives and lawyers.

    • Steve

      +1

      Thermal management, color temp control, dimming, and alternate psu is not at all innovative. Total bullshit. They should never have got a patent and now they want people to pay them because they have ? SCUMBAGS !

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      FUUUUUU LIGHTPANELS and you crappy products.

      you think you can act like apple, well guess what, die trying

  • Thomas

    Might as well patent filming in sunlight. Pathetic non-innovation.

    • fjfjjj

      I’m still waiting to see any serious analysis of the actual patents. Suspending judgement till then.

  • King Of Swaziland

    Dear Patent Troll:

    Your patent is OBVIOUS. You should be ashamed for submitting it. You should be ashamed for trying to enforce it. You should hang your head every minute of every waking day, and repeat over and over to yourself “I am a patent troll, I am a blight on the free enterprise system.”

    The patent examiner who granted your FRIGGING OBVIOUS patent should be tarred, feathered, and run out of DC on a rail, stopping in every major city in the US, with a sign over his bound form stating “This is what the US Patent Office thinks of OBVIOUS patents and those who approve them.”

    I hope your children get leukemia, and you and your lawyers die from some disease that takes decades, and is extraordinarily painful.

    In short, go f— yourselves.

    Sincerely,
    The Universe

    • rebuttal

      Could you be any more ignorant, unprofessional, and offensive?

      A couple points…

      The company does not appear to be a patent troll. It is not a non-practicing entity.

      Examiners are based in Alexandria, Virginia – not DC.

      • Pablo Ricasso

        Not one dime for the company on who’s behalf you argue. NOTHING

        As if someone hadn’t made full spectrum LEDs.

        As if someone hasn’t photographed with LED light.

        Troll

    • Sky

      No man, not at all.

      “Your patent is OBVIOUS. You should be ashamed for submitting it. You should be ashamed for trying to enforce it”

      ASHAMED should be that IDIOT in a patent office that allowed something like that to be patented.
      Every year there are thousands of patent requests, many of them for totally ridiculous, not innovative “ideas” which are nothing else then either: stupidity of company submitting it, or a troll attempt.
      Meanwhile people pay taxes to support these guys in the patent office to defend society from people trying to patent shit like that. And as it seems: These guys are not only totally irresponsible and having their bread givers deeply in their arse, but also simply: dumb for approving things like that.
      What next?!

      • rebuttal

        The patent office is totally fee funded. Taxes do not support the patent office.

        Did you bother to look at the prosecution history of the patent?

      • Voice of reason

        Ideas are usually OBVIOUS after the fact. Saying “gee I could of done that” is pretty ignorant. The fact of the matter is that you didn’t do it. It takes time and money to create something even if most of the technology is already out there.

        I can’t agree with stealing someones ideas. Having the Chinese make a cheap copy of what another company developed needs to be stopped. I applaud Litepanels for spending the money to stop them. Most companies just give up. That’s why our homes are filled with cheap crap.

        • Pablo Ricasso

          The people stealing the idea are the ones trying to enforce a patent on that which countless people have done before they decided to market their non idea.
          If what they offered was worth anything they wouldn’t need a patent.

        • King Of Swaziland

          Hey Voice of Banality,

          Here’s an OBVIOUS patent for you.

          Every new light source that ever comes out, I will make a full spectrum, photographic and videographic lighting system from this new light source. For kicks, I’m gonna go ahead and postulate a holographic recording system too, and extend this OBVIOUS PATENT to this postulated development too…

          Now NOBODY EVER CAN MAKE ANOTHER lighting system without paying me royalties!!!!!

          YOUR LOGIX ARE IMP33XABLE!!!!!

          ALL BOW DOWN BEFORE THE GREAT MASTER OF OBVIOUS PATENTS!!!!

          BY THIS LOGIX I CAN NOW OWN ALL FUTURE PROGRESS!!!

          Anyway, get the f— out Voice of Stupidity,

          You and yours are destroying innovation and technological progress.

          • Voice of Reason

            King Of Swaziland, you’re arguments make no sense. it’s obvious you have no idea how patents work. There can be no innovation without comapnies investing in it. You would know such things if you ever got out of your Mom’s basement and actually tried working in the real world.

            Patents are there to protect innovation. If this patent is not valid then the judge will decide against them. The fact of teh matter is that they built it first, and were smart enough topatent their idea. Now Chinese companies are building cheap copies. justy take a wwalk around NAB and you will see dozens of exact copies, that is not a free market, that’s piracy.

          • King Of Swaziland

            You’re the one with no clue how the system is supposed to work. Patents protect INNOVATION. Not taking something OBVIOUS and selling it.

            Let me clue you in, pretty much every compact, new source of light will get used in photo applications. THAT’S CALLED OBVIOUSNESS. PATENTS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO PROTECT OBVIOUS DEVELOPMENTS.

            Of course the judge should be throwing this garbage patent out. But it should never have gotten to a judge. The patent examiner ought to have fallen off his chair laughing at such an obvious patent, and never approved it.

    • http://photo.stackexchange.com/users/4506 DragonLord

      I don’t think this kind of response is deserved.

      While the patent examiner is at least partially at fault, the patent system as a whole needs to be reformed. Patents are being abused everywhere for use as anti-competitive tools, rather than to promote innovation as originally intended.

      There are several changes that can be made that can fix this issue. For example, because the state of the art now advances much faster than it did 100-200 years ago, the validity of a patent should be 7-10 years, rather than 20 years. There should be specific clauses in the patent laws that explicitly prohibit assertion of patents 1) for anti-competitive purposes or 2) solely for collecting licensing royalties without producing any product or service that uses the patent.

      • Nick

        I see your point on 1), but how do you govern 2)?

        What if party A patents something that is a key break through in its field, Party b then licences that patent and strings it together with its patents to produce a ground breaking new product. A cannot produce this himself, as he does not have B’s capital. Instead he obtains the royalties from his first patent, and uses this to continue his R&D to develop another breakthrough. Surely this is exactlyw hat he should be doing, and yet he’s using his patent solely to collect royalties?

        Imagine then he gets his second patent, and realises that with a cash injection of 20 million USD he can build a facility and cover start up costs to manufacture this one himself.

        But where to get 20 million USD? Party B won’t pay that for his original patent, but Party C will as it’s a fund that had 20 mill to invest and is looking for a revenue generating investment at a time when interest rates are low and the capital markets are flighty. So it does. Then it just sits there and creams off the royalties.

        So – A is happy, he has his money and his new business with his new invention, party B is happy – it continues to license A’s idea to make it’s own product. Party C is happy, it invested it’s 20 mill into an asset which provides it with a known and acceptable return.

        Capitalism in action, what’s the issue?

        • Nick

          Just a note – the above is not a defence of litepanel, they seem to be way off here, though the blame seems to lie as much with the patent office for letting them have patents for trivial things as much as with their own decision making.

  • kg

    The only thing in their list of challenges that holds any merit (and that is a weak one since they purchase the LEDs from someone else) is “precision of color temperature”. The rest apply to any light producing device.

  • Banksie

    We can buy Arri, Lowell, Mole-Richardson, etc., tungsten lighting without these companies complaining about the competition. We choose between them for their build quality, footprint, efficiency, and pricing. And they all use the same light bulbs.

    Companies like Dracast use imported LED bulbs but are assembled here in the US by a US company. They can have a slight green signal (which can be corrected with gels or in post) but don’t seem to have flicker issues. Will they last as long as a Litepanel? Maybe not, but they cost 1/2 the cost of a Litepanel. If somebody wants the backing of a company like LitePanel and wants to pay the higher cost for what may be better overall quality, then that should be left up to the consumer. But I seriously doubt that a company like Dracast is actually infringing on any intellectual property belonging to LitePanel. Just like Broncolor isn’t infringing with Elinchrom because they both happen to be the same shape of monolight using the same kind of flash tubes.

  • Nathan

    Ohhhh, so they aren’t blocking all LED technology, just the ones that infringe on their huge ideas such as:

    Using WHITE light to shoot video with
    Using heatsinks so the LEDs and voltage regulators don’t melt

    And they aren’t blocking importation, they’re blocking importation of all products that don’t pay licensing fees for the above “technologies”, including the ones that only use commercial white LEDS in plastic packages without heat sinks.
    Oh, and flicker free dimming can be done easily with a variable current supply ( even a simple rotator switch with a bunch of different resistors will do, 1920s tech at best) . It’s not like DC makes LEDs flicker, especially since the power is DC to start with (battery power).
    They can spin all they like, but they are attempting to patent ordinary tech. Nowhere did they innovate in any way. What, they took the time to create heatsinks? That’s normal for high-power solid state devices. Next! Oh, they use white light? Yeah, pretty typical for video.
    Never will I buy from these crooks.

  • Nathan

    I should add that I am only an electronics technician with an Associate’s degree, and I am more than capable of implementing white LED illumination, with heatsinks, and even white balance variability by using the entirely obvious method of RGB LED implementation. None of it is even remotely novel, it is completely obvious.
    To be novel, one would expect that some engineering hurdle had been overcome. Here, it hasn’t. It would take me roughly one hour to design and construct a sample panel. This is not rocket science. A DC to DC converter of variable output, either one or many bias resistors, that’s grade school stuff. Three different outputs finely adjustable for RGB output with calibration is also not difficult- the only thing that would be difficult for even a hobbyist to pull off is calibrated kelvin temperature variability. That would be nontrivial. But LitePanels didn’t patent THAT because they didn’t do it either.

  • Nathan

    I should also also add that my son is a videographer, and we were going to purchase LED lights this year. I just ordered two packs of 500 superbright 5600 degree K LEDs and twelve 12X12 protoboards. Drilling an aluminum sheet as an intermediary heatsink, using thermal bonding instead of soldering for heat sinking.
    I am a high-school dropout, and I anticipate no difficulties in coming up with a full set of tripod and shoe-mountable infringing lamps for him.
    This patent lacks novelty to such an extreme degree that I had already ordered the supplies before reading of this patent action. In other words, faced with the same set of problems LitePanels faced before building their product, I came up with similar ideas for mine, and I don’t even consider it a major problem. Packaged high powered LEDS come already with provisions for heat sinking, and with proper mechanical work, they’ll all point exactly the same direction. I’ve powered a couple of LEDS and they’re all the same color and reasonably between 5600 and 5750 K according to my Sekonic C-500. In other words, simply not a problem. For tungsten balance, adding gels to the fronts. Easy peasy.

  • MB

    So company has patented use of LED light but only in imaging application (actually used for that for many years) .
    What is next?
    Patenting use of any device that captures the light but only in visible spectrum?
    Patenting use of sound waves but only in music production and video?

    • King Of Swaziland

      I think Apple probably beat you out by patenting a system whereby organisms receive spatial data about their surroundings by focusing reflected light from those objects onto an organic, light sensitive surface which transmits this optical data to the organism’s central nervous system.

      Your continued visual existence is now in violation of their duly granted patent, and the courts will be by shortly to re-posses your patent violating sight.

      Have a nice day.

  • Tijmen

    This pisses me off so fucking much. Sad companies filing lawsuits for something they probably didn’t even invent. I hope they choke on dicks and die.

  • YV

    Maybe this will be the first example of suicide by ridiculous patents.
    What people used to think of Litepanels: expensive but well engineered LED lights.
    What people now think of Litepanels: monopolistic, greedy, arrogant patent-trolls who will never see a dollar of my money.

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      thats how internet works.
      if you are evil, people will find out and tell to other ones.
      smaller and less important you are, more beaten you will get

  • stip80

    if im the other producer, i would start selling the product component separately in a way it is easy for the customers to build it themselves. for example, the casing, the led panel, the heatsink, the battery contacts and wires, are available to buy separately. thus, selling each of them in itself should not be a violation of the patent, because from what i can see, the patent filed is just an idea of putting all of these already-available-for-so-long parts into one nice working product. now, eat those lawyers, court and patent fees and see if you have enough resources like apple to survive.

  • TROLL NOCWELL

    Well I know around this….My Car has LED Lighting…I will use my Mercedes Benz to LED Light up my models!!! Fuck you Lite Panels!!! lol

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