University Sues Samsung for Infringing Nanoparticles

Private research university Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) filed a complaint against Samsung Electronics America and Samsung Electronics Co. for patent infringement in New Jersey federal Court (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC. 2:19-cv-20097). Both RPI and Samsung America are based in New York. The complaint alleged the infringement on RPI’s patents occurred in New Jersey, amongst other places in the United States.

The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 6,906,339 (the “‘339 patent”) and a division of the patent U.S. Patent No. 7,253,119 (the “‘119 patent”). The patents are related to a method of making semiconductor nanoparticles and are both entitled “Passivated Nanoparticles, Method of Fabrication Thereof, and Devices Incorporating Nanoparticles.” They were invented by Partha Dutta. The complaint stated that Samsung’s QLED-type television products infringe on this patent; this includes more than 130 different television models that have been imported and sold in the United States since 2015. Samsung continues to sell these products in the United States.

The complaint specified that Samsung’s QLED-type televisions use semiconductor nanoparticles, which they advertise as “Quantum Dots” to display color; this is sometimes contained in a quantum-dot enhancement film, or QDEF. The claim for the ‘339 patent stated that the Defendants “are and have been elementally passivating Quantum Dots in their QLED televisions.” It explains that semiconductor nanoparticles are measured using the photon correlated spectroscopy method. It also explained that the size of nanoparticles in Samsung’s QLED televisions when measured match the size of semiconductor nanoparticles that have been elementally passivated. The claim for the ‘119 patent stated that passivating the surface of nanoparticles changes the particle’s size. The claim accused Samsung of using the method patented by RPI to create the passivate semiconductor nanoparticles. The complaint includes a publicly available article to further explain the science.  

RPI seeks relief against Samsung in the manner of a judgment that the defendants infringed on RPI’s patents, an injunction against the defendants from further infringement on the patents, a monetary reward for damages, and an award of pre- and post-judgment interest. RPI is being represented by the law firm of Hill Wallack.