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Are Patent Claims Coming For Your WS2812? | Hackaday

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In our field, there are some components that are used so often that they are everywhere, represented by their part numbers, without having to rush through the data sheet to remind ourselves what we are talking about. You can release some of them, such as 555, 741, ESP8266, etc.

In the world of LEDs, the easiest part is

Addressable LED. This part consists of three LEDs in red, green and blue, all in the same package and with a serial interface, allowing the creation of individually addressable multi-color light chains. We have seen them in various places, if you do not recognize the part number, then maybe you will name them after one of the names they sell: Neopixel.

Yesterday, we received an email from a multidisciplinary friend with the address

, UK supplier of various forms of electronic products. In their product range, they have a considerable number of products containing WS2812, and it is these products that constitute the unexpected stop and termination letter.

It is the manufacturer of APA102 addressable LED (you may call it Dotstar). Their requirement to stop selling the products they want to stop selling is that they have a patent for addressable multi-color LEDs. We really want to know if any other WS2812-based parts suppliers have received similar letters.

It is indeed a patent for "single full-color LED with driving mechanism", and it looks very much like WS2812. But, as usual, this kind of thing is not as dry as it first appeared. For example, the LED in the patent relies on the clock line to operate, but the Worldsemi component does not need it. I am not a lawyer, so I will call it groundless and speculative without hesitation, but I doubt that the two semiconductor companies will take advantage of this in court.

It is fair to say that most of the spirit of our movement has something in common with the open source world, so news of such legal methods will never disappear. In this case, we are just a piece of cake, and the commercial impact on the sales of APA102 or WS2812 will be small, but it will inevitably weaken the position of APA in our eyes. Companies such as Pimoroni are not the target, but collateral damage in the struggle between manufacturers.

Whether a patent has been infringed can only be determined by the court. It is not uncommon for patent holders to follow companies that sell "infringing" products, rather than risking expensive litigation, and just insisting that, in this case, parts are purchased from APA instead of Worldsemi.

So if you rely on addressable LEDs, beware! There may be trouble.

Header image: Tristan Robitaille [


If Gofundme can afford legal fees or other expenses, please let us know. I haven't got anything containing WS from Pimoroni, but I know they have quality products that are worth offering.

(That is, if they decide to take the legal path-I certainly hope they do. Tell APA that it is better to give up because their patent does not seem to be clearly applicable).

To find out whether there is a possible violation of patent content, please do not read the abstract. Read each statement and check whether the relevant part has implemented the statement. Then find out whether the claim has prior art.

Obviously, this is to scare part manufacturers into buying licenses by using FUD to close its distributors and dealers so that they cannot sell products. Distributors and distributors should ask their lawyers to contact the lawyers of the parts manufacturer and proceed on the advice of the lawyers. If your legal adviser advises you to continue selling this component now, you will usually be protected by law. If you move forward without the guidance of a lawyer, you will not be protected.

This is really an interesting idea about obtaining protection in accordance with the law to continue selling. Thanks for that!

In other words, proceeding with a lawsuit under the advice of a lawyer (of course, the lawyer must record your non-infringement arguments in writing) provides you with a good faith reason to continue selling. However, this does not mean that you have not infringed (in this case, you may be financially affected). If the court determines that you are indeed infringing, it will only prevent the plaintiff from winning your multiplier (usually three times) damages. At least, this is my 33 years of experience in patents and other aspects of the health business. :-)

May protect you from intentional infringement (this may be that you have a sincere belief that you have no infringement). But I believe that the manufacturer may still be liable for the loss of profits and/or "reasonable royalties" of the patent holder.

Yes, it is possible to assess the simple license fee compensation that the court considers reasonable. The cost or time of the plaintiff is not always worth the price you pay for it. In many cases, the defense lawyer will propose the amount that can be recovered and the cost to be recovered, and then the parties will resolve part of it. But (as far as I know) there are always idiots.

Since their patent requirements clearly indicate the serial and clock lines (according to the SPI of 8094102B2), and the 2811 protocol is only a clock, isn't this a reason for dismissal?

Reading the patent, each independent claim needs "clock input" and "clock output". If the chip does not have these functions, it means that the chip is not infringing, and they can safely point this out and continue to sell these parts. Looking at the data sheet, this seems to be the case. There is no problem without a clock. Even if they have a clock "input" but no "output", they will be perfect.

They should have their lawyer tell the patent troll to smash the sand.

This one

Agree that if there is no clock line, I am thinking about the same thing, that is a different implementation.

Even WS2813 seems to avoid this situation by adding a second data line instead of the clock line. I thought this was an ugly hacker, but it seems that it might be a way to evade this patent...

In addition to all the repetitive discussions about clock input and clock output in the claims, the main claim also states power input * and * power output-WS2812 and even APA102 do not meet this requirement because they only have power input :-)

In addition, the main claim also supplies power to the controller IC through the aforementioned "power input", which also provides power to the LEDs-WS2812 has two power input pins, one for the LED and the other for the controller IC, thus avoiding the statement again. definition.

Okay, I designed a PCB that can use apa106? Does anyone know of other addressable LEDs with a diameter of 8mm like normal large LEDs?

Usually stores also provide some other addressable 8mm RGB LED WS2811, PL9823, etc.

I call this BS.

APA ELECTRONICS' bad PR behavior has now won our attention, although not a good person.

This is FTDIgate in 2018.

Well, that's too extreme. Patent claims like this happen all the time, and they are nowhere near the scale of FTDIgate or violate integrity/trust.

This will not affect the favorite person or end user, only the manufacturer of the device. Wait until the court decides.

I think this is the point. If there are benefits behind the claims, then companies like Pimoroni will have to pay a huge price for it. Most companies will not do this because it is expensive and the results are uncertain. In this case, if the distributor thinks they are right, they cannot stop selling WS2812 products because they are so common.

Bruce's suggestion above that he sought legal counsel as a way to solve this problem is excellent.

Speaking in the name of an inventor who has a lot of US patent experience (if anyone remembers VCR products from the 1990s, in the Commercial >> Advance product portfolio), I bet you will find it difficult to publish this opinion due to the potential risks of lawyers, So ask a lawyer to issue this opinion for you. Unless it is super, super, super obvious, and maybe not by then.

With full respect, they should ask their lawyers to rule on non-infringement. There is a lot of trouble issuing this document, but good lawyers know the right experts to hire and know how to protect clients and how to protect themselves. For this, litigate or sanction lawyers-don't even try. This is unlikely to succeed.

As far as I know, the ruling of non-infringement is a summary judgment of the judge, not the lawyer. Isn't that true? In any infringement case, I never go too far, and we always resolve it as soon as possible. My comment is not to bring a lawsuit against a lawyer, I mean that a lawyer may be reluctant to express an opinion because of his public opinion. We do sometimes need to hire expert witnesses to reverse engineer potentially infringing equipment, so this strategy works well.

Western distributors need to consider stopping sales, while Chinese distributors can continue to sell and enjoy government protection from external claims.

I have decided that I will add APA Electronic to my list together with FTDI, John Deere, SCO, etc. Companies that I will not do business with due to abuse of intellectual property laws. Of course, I will definitely not affect the profitability of any company on this list, but my conscience is very clear.


This completely affects the end user. If two competing products from two companies suddenly become sold by only one company, then you can bet that the prices of all horses will skyrocket.

Considering the fact that Pimoroni also uses APA102 LEDs in some other products, and WS2812 is not compatible with the pins of these products, this seems like a very stupid email...

*Why annoy customers who have purchased your components in large quantities?

The answer may be that there is some dissatisfaction in APA or a certain law firm, and they are trying to solicit some business, but do not know what they are doing.

I was thinking the same thing. If they have questions about a product that includes WS2812, they should contact Worldsemi instead of a supplier who happens to use both products at the same time.

This one! I think the responsibility here lies with the part manufacturer, not the distributor. If they really want to commit suicide by public relations... well... I mean to initiate legal proceedings, then they should go back to the source. It is not the distributor’s responsibility to determine whether the purchased parts are infringing. It is the responsibility of parts manufacturers to fight against them to prove to their distributors that their parts are legal.

Before the APA asked the judge to say that "the part may not be imported or sold in country X," the distributor is not obliged to stop sales, and the distributor's claim appears to be completely suspicious.

The only guarantee is that APA may be included in the "do not buy" list like FTDI.

The problem is that there is something called "joint infringement":

35 USC §271(c) proposes to sell or sell or import patented machinery, manufacturing, combination or component components or materials or equipment used to implement the patent process in the United States, and the inventor who constitutes a substantial part of the present invention, It should be known that the invention is a patent specially manufactured or particularly suitable for infringement, rather than a major commodity or commercial commodity suitable for substantive non-infringing use, and shall be liable as a joint infringer.

Unless the court does not decide. Unless the courts do so, they have no obligation to comply. If the court says infringement, then yes, they should stop selling the product, and then, if they don’t, then...APA can submit a real C&D...instead of such counterfeit goods.

Oh yes. . . Maybe it’s not quoting the U.S. law of a British distributor. Maybe you can find a suitable location and cite the British version.

I am short of time and have no chance to read all the comments in this article, but I don’t know that the stop and termination commands to be executed are all sent via snail mail. The email may be forged and therefore unreliable. Especially considering that this was delivered in some form (I saw it somewhere), this is probably just an attempt to raise public awareness of the "claimant" company.

I am not even sure if this is a formal ceasefire and suppression. It indicated that it was entered via the contact form and directed them to Google's patent link. Except for the references in the link, it doesn't even have a patent number. Now, I am not a patent attorney, but this looks like the most unprofessional stop and termination letter, you may get mixed into the keyboard.

In my opinion, the grammar and English of this letter are completely incompetent for lawyers...but this is me...

It looks like it was submitted through their online feedback form. Shouldn’t the sending of the stop letter be more formal?

Yes, they should switch to Facebook.

I think legal documents usually use MySpace.

I prefer Twitter, so it’s public

Beat me, let StackExchange stop and stop "close as duplicate"

Well, until they released it, they could have denied getting it. It should be some form of registered position.

*In most courts, legal process requirements.

In fact, you can serve someone via email and write some testimony about your service to them. Provide services through the web form, but the patent number is not listed? Maybe it was not sent by a legal professional.

Patent attorneys do not talk about global patents, because there is no such thing. On the other hand, the Nigerian prince is probably talking nonsense.

Oops-the existing technology of a_do_z.

Before posting a comment, I should read all the comments.

As far as its writing method is concerned, I always hope to read that the patent right is owned by a Nigerian prince. I have no expertise in legal affairs, but I have read many phishing scams. This smells like one.

I want to know if they can use this type of content as an example of "prior art" to undermine the original basis for APA to file a patent application:

Addressable LED architecture (2007/2008)

Single-wire serial protocol of RGB LED driver (2004/2005)

Tile lighting method and system (2004/2005)

IP addressable light emitting diode (2001/2002)

Color LED lighting method and device (2000/2001)


Good link and good discussion, thanks to all :-)

I agree. When large companies appear, patent examiners are usually unable to examine patents, which makes me uneasy. I'm not sure if bribery is involved, or if the examiner just doesn't have the time to pay a fixed fee to oppose the badge of an unlimited number of company patent attorneys, but it is worth noting that the big companies completely agreed. Trying to apply for a patent on their own, the examiner cannot see the creativity in the whole new process, but in my favorite example, they found that Nespresso is creative in the novel method of sealing coffee capsules with O-rings. In order to be creative, you must do something that is not obvious to those skilled in the art, so obviously, those skilled in the sealing field would not think of using O-rings, which is one of the most popular ways to achieve sealing.

Lawyers are the gold standard of bullying. If you make the product in good faith and purchase the product, please tell them that you will not stop and stop, but you will file a counter-suit, pointing out the company and its lawyers' attempted fraud, torture of trade, etc., because they violated your counterfeit products . Design and business rights. They are trying to make their suppliers sell them cheaply. It should also be noted that you are not a party to the infringement until the court determines that it is a patent infringement.

Another point: I only found CN, US and DE patents. How to treat it as a "global patent"? There doesn't seem to be one of the GB where Pimoroni is located.

Thank you! It is strange that they have no offer, but the United States. Maybe they sent more of these?

If they are so stupid that they can't even cite the correct patent, what are the chances that they are capable of doing anything. Muppets.

I believe there is no "global" patent...As far as I know, you must file (and maintain) a patent in every jurisdiction that you want legal protection. So... if you have a US patent, but not elsewhere, your patent can only be enforced in the US. As for law enforcement... it is not automatic... As a patent holder, you must file a legal application against the company/person who claims to infringe the patent.

Since the company is headquartered in the United Kingdom, unless the patent is also filed in the United Kingdom, the US patent will not be enforceable in the United Kingdom. The only potential problem I can see is that if US patents are valid and maintained, they may limit the company's ability to sell to the US.

A patent is only valid in the country that receives the patent, unless there is a special treaty covering this point. As far as I know, there is no treaty between the United States and the European Union, but there are treaties within the European Union, so the patent is within the entire European Union (EPO).

Britain only extradites to the United States on demand, so mutual patent laws are not required.

I am really brave. Is it clear that the initial dispute is criminal rather than civil? Is it possible to become a crime only after the damage is judged, and even in the early stages of the case, it will not be on the discovery/instruction Become a crime?

Closely, there are separate national and EU patents. One does not always mean the other. One person can own a national patent in the entire EU, as long as the holder does not fight with it, both of them can be valid in that country.

All this is just more evidence to prove that the idea of ​​a patent is stupid.

Patent is just a mechanism, so people who have no idea can "own" an idea. They should get psychological help, not legal help.

Do you agree that people who have ideas should have their own ideas?

In fact, people will not have their own ideas in accordance with the law. They have a process, a machine, a manufacturing (a way of making something) or a new material composition (a formula). These are all realizations.

I can also teach you information about copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, but maybe Hackaday should let me attend the next meeting before I do that :-)


In fact, patents are very valuable in protecting people with truly novel/innovative ideas, and can protect their inventions as products enter the market, solve first-generation problems and win development costs. Without this protection, once a large company with a large engineering department has a sense of smell for a new design, it can bring better products to the market faster, and the original inventor is also messed up.

The problem now is that there are not enough patent examiners to keep up with the endless stream of nonsense patents brought by big companies and idiots, claiming that there are all kinds of completely non-inventive nonsense. As the examiner overworked, many patents were granted, but no rights were granted, so the system collapsed.

But don't even let me start obsessing with the stupid practice of software patents.

According to the grammar of this letter, punctuation and capital letters, as if they came from the Youtube comment section, it seems that someone is literally a patent troll.

You give too much credit to the YouTube comment section :)

Personally, I am willing to withdraw all products using APA102 or WS2812 until their patent litigation is passed. Are they really suing the manufacturer of WS2812, or are they just threatening to sue pimoroni?

I don't even understand the "invention" in the patent. It means that the LED, serial interface and driver already exist and are already used in the RGB configuration. Why is the size reduction not obvious to those skilled in the art?

For almost all patents I have read, I ask myself the same questions. I usually conclude that it has something to do with lawyers making more money.

The patent sucks.

Agree that intellectual property is one of the things that is so common in our culture and way of thinking that it is difficult to conceive in any other way, but there is a disconnect between how patents should work and how they work. I think we have not followed the logical conclusion of intellectual property rights.

Until you read HaD's article about "good guys" gaining control from the company, then you don't understand why the rules are like this.

No rule is unfair.

The rules should be there to empower individuals inside and outside the company.

The company has the power to dispute with individuals, much more than that. More money, more expertise, more bureaucracy, tax exemptions for write-off expenditures, etc.

By default, too many laws benefit the company.

They are not people, but they often inherit the same rights as people.

So, when would you specifically demonize a one-person shop that employs a few people, sees some success, grows into clothing for 10 people, then hires 100 people, becomes more successful, and grows to 1,000 employees ( And pay taxes to support roads, schools, etc.), further growth...

The last time I checked, the company I worked for with about 100,000 employees consisted of 100,000 hard-working individuals who worked all year long to create high-value, high-quality products for consumers (you are likely to find these products in your residence) . Yes, my "company" pursues its patent rights so that these 100,000 people can continue to support their families and the communities where they live, work, and entertain.

Are you joking? Why does anyone take this seriously through the website contact form? Except for Pimoroni now publicly announcing that they have received it, it should be completely ignored. It sounds like APA salespeople are trying to inspire some businesses with youth intimidation strategies. APA will not be aware of the existence of the Internet, and will such a move hurt a lot of your time? Just mention the FTDI driver...

I read the patent and some data sheets. If you put WS2801 in a separate package, just as you put WS2811 in WS2812, then you will have trouble using the patent!

I thought about how to deal with patent trolls:

1. Create a limited liability company with no assets

2. Intentionally infringe as many patents as possible

3. As your own defense when prosecuted

4. When found guilty, close the company

The trolls have spent a lot of money now and they will not take it back

Although interesting, it is unlikely to work because the opposition will pierce the company's veil in this situation. Then you will take personal responsibility.

Without assets, how would you infringe patents?

I'm sure no one cares about companies that actually only consider patents from other companies.

"TREE primary color lights, red, green and blue lights"

So don’t worry, only LEDs that use colors extracted from trees are patented: P

Claim 1 of the patent has shown that this is a false C&D: "1. The package structure of full-color LED (light emitting diode), including: power input, power output, clock input, clock output, serial data input and serial data output ..."

Assuming WS2812 has no clock input, you can stop reading after "clock input".

Although the patent has several independent claims, they all fail for the same reason.

This C&D has a positive aspect. I didn't know WS2812 before, but now I do. I don’t mind changing from 6 padding to 4, but still maintain the same functionality, so I think the next time these things are needed, the content of APA becomes the second source.

Pimoroni is a British company.

This is a US patent.

They should recommend them to Arkel vs. Pressdram

If enough large fishes file real claims, it seems unlikely that Chinese companies will file a claim in a British court.

That's not how it works. First, you pursue the little fish that cannot defend themselves, and then use these victories to support your claim to the big fish.

Yes, but you can work with real lawyers instead of threatening illiteracy through a web form

+1 is Arkell and Pressdram.

If you scroll up (in response to my inquiry), you can see that there is actually a UK patent:

The comma should be placed before the square bracket

The patent claims all have the following points in common:

1) Clock, data and power cord

2) Discrete current limiting resistor

The present invention has 3 protected embodiments. Each claim refers to the specific layout of the components in the package: the driver chip, the discrete LED chip and the discrete current limiting resistor. "The current limiting resistor has two conductive surfaces. Chip resistors".

WS2812 does not have a discrete current limiting resistor or clock line, so the three protected embodiments of the present invention are not the same.

Judging from the microscope photo of WS281X, there is a driver chip and 3 LED chips, and the current limiting seems to be done on the silicon chip instead of using discrete chip resistors.

I want to say that WS knew the patent when it designed LEDs and made targeted designs around the patent claims.

It would not surprise me if WS already had lawyers to review and produce documents to protect them from the patent.

Agree that they know the patent; take a look at the design of WS2813. Two data lines instead of data + clock.

I think this issue may be more complicated. From your traditional indicators, they are not "patent trolls", but rather a large company that produces real products that people buy and integrates them into products. Judging from their history and patent release date, they are undoubtedly the first. In addition, APA is a Taiwanese company and Worldsemi is a Chinese company-a country known for copying and diminishing new ideas.

For most current enthusiasts, WS2812 is better known, partly because they are cheaper and partly because they have a more convenient interface. In fact, I even vaguely remember that there was a time when these two universal-sounding foreign manufacturers sold products to hobby shops in the United States. However, assuming that APA first appeared in the late 2000s and was actually the first company to design digitally controllable LEDs, while the LEDs and the controller were in the same package, this was a novel and unrelated idea at the time. How is this different from making a hypothetical perfect iPhone clone and adding a microSD slot and headphone jack, both of which are very valuable features and might sell better?

The bigger complication is that I found that APA has a wider range of patents in China (not sure if it makes any sense) and Taiwan, some of which may indeed cover WS2812 (

). Now, legally speaking, this doesn't mean much, but before the patent application is processed, the cost of applying for an international patent is extremely expensive, and many people choose to choose only a very important patent. They may have chosen the wrong one-but you can think of it this way-Worldsemi knows that the enforcement of patents in China is not entirely correct, so they can see which patents are enforceable for their international export markets and work around them.

Now, the most embarrassing thing about the entire patent issue is timing. APA may have filed a lawsuit against Worldsemi a few years ago, when the idea was still very new and it was still in the early stages of the patent term. I am not an international (or domestic) patent attorney, so this case has probably been heard in the courts of China or Taiwan for ten years, and they are now doing some things related to international intellectual property.

This involves my personal opinion on how to improve the patent system-I think patents need different terms according to the market. If this article was published on Hackaday ten years ago, when APA just released with their product, and WS2812 is a cloned version, then maybe there will be more sympathy for APA because of an RGB LED packaged with a controller It is a very new idea. (Or maybe not, because WS2812 may be cheaper and has a better interface). But at this point, WS2812 has become a hobby standard and a certain brand name, so it is difficult to like APA like WS. Ignoring any issues that may delay APA enforcement actions for up to ten years, I feel that such a patent should have expired, and it does not need to spend several years to make up for the development cost and lose its novelty.

For how long this part has been sold, please consult the teachings of Laches. This is not a fine in court, but it can greatly reduce the loss.

One of the better written comments and thoughtful comments about HaD. well done.

Just a marketing stunt-ignore it.

1) The stop and stop must be sent by registered mail, so there is a notification certificate.

2) Muat has an (unedited) signature.

3) Must include (unedited) reply method.

The more I hear, the more it sounds like a hoax. Maybe we should get together, figure out the various methods involved in fraud, and apply for "global patents" for them, and then, if they try to deceive us without proper permission, we can sue them.

If APA is so confident in its patent rights, why not sue Worldsemi?

If they doubt their rights, why should Pimoroni care?

Don't let effing 741 enter the memory of future generations

I recently discovered information about Inolux IN-PI554FCH.

Very similar to WS2812B, but:

– The direction mark should correctly indicate pin 1 (not pin 3!)

– The company behind it looks more "serious"?

– Can be obtained from known/large distributors (such as digikey(

) And mouser / arrow (although there are more), this is a big advantage because you know exactly what you want to buy and you will always get the same thing (I’ve heard many horror stories about the cunning new pixel ).

They may be more expensive, but I think they are a good choice for serious projects.

Has anyone tried it?

One of the rough but useful advice I got was not to talk about written patents. The reason people remember is bad. If you say "analyze" something and put it in an email and say "I think we might be infringing" or something like that, you will continue to sell it anyway-if not, Then if you have subpoenaed all e-mails/texts, no/chat etc. can be subpoenaed. Merely acknowledging that it might be possible to change the context from "I don't know" to a violation of intent, which may cause huge losses. If you really want to talk about patents in your email, you always have to stand by the extremely cautious Boy Scout response, assuming that everything everyone tells you is fact, and act accordingly.

The patent system has been jammed. At some point, the United States only needs to abolish the patent system and start with a wise system.

The APA website was apparently written by the person who was about to conduct a patent investigation:

"As the original manufacturer of the patented integrated IC LED"

"Exclusive patent protection product"

"APA-102, APA-104 (detailed patent)"

"APA ELECTRONIC CO., LTD. Has patents in the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Australia, Taiwan, China, Japan and South Korea."

APA Electronic Co. believes that you have indeed made too many protests.

As others have said, does chasing clothing like Pimoroni look weird when they should sue Worldsemi 1st?

This may also make the company look more serious. If they have invested so much money in patent protection, it is certain that they will invest a lot of development money in this product. This is a common marketing strategy, so much so that obtaining a "useless" patent is just to say that you own the patent.

In some countries/regions, you can obtain patents for free or for a small fee, and sometimes you don’t even need to do a technical search to obtain patents until you "activate." In this way, you can bring your product to the market without spending a lot of money, just in case you think that the novelty is obvious and trivial to make other non-infringing implementations, or there are already many existing There is technology, or if you do not introduce the product line further here, you need to pay for the protection.

It's a pity that I actually like APA102 very much because they have a clock line-easier to use in non-real-time scenarios (iE RasPi + Python). But I don't want to support such a bully.

I read the statement. Each claim has prior art.

*There is already existing technology of multi-die package of color-changing LED->control IC, LED die and current limiting resistor

*Use a shift register to connect multiple ICs in series -> most of the existing technology

* APA-LED uses 2-wire SPI protocol with data and clock, while WS281x uses single-wire protocol

"Are patent delays and false patent and copyright claims laws in your judicial system?" would be a better question.

This is a rampant form of abuse that will only get worse until some measure is taken to stop it.

At least they still have firefighters trying to put out the fire, and look at the bright side.

Assuming that the C&D order actually came from APA, this is doubtful, considering the way it was written and delivered, they should consider the situation of Flintstones. Hanna-Barbera's "Flintstones" series is a blatant steal from "The Honeymooner". Once, Jackie Gleason, the creator and star of "The Honeymooners" (The Honeymooners), wanted to sue Hanna-Barbera for copyright infringement, but his lawyer asked Does he really want to be the one who kills flint and steel. Gleason gave in, and both series remained popular.

Is it really patentable to "integrate" existing components into a single module? I mean, I have purchased some MaceTech "ShiftBrite" modules since 2008. These modules use Allegro A6281 serially controllable 3-channel LED driver chip. The data sheet shows 2006...

Yes. The patent system allows you to apply for a patent for a machine. Of course, the machine usually consists of components that already exist and were invented long ago. I'm not saying it's good, it's still good. That's it today.

However, the old things you find may be existing technology. Wait a minute I doubt if we will be asked to help these people with existing technology, but sometimes this happens.

Solve through product notification:

Due to XXX's patent requirements, we are happy to provide high-quality replacement parts with inferior quality. You need to make some minor design changes to use this poor quality replacement part.

What you need to do is:

Redesign your circuit board to use the clock line, which is not needed for the deprecated parts.

Redesign your board to use the licensed proprietary protocol.

Don't worry, new parts are more expensive and proprietary. In order to meet the demand, we predict that the lead time for a quantity greater than 1 piece is 10 weeks. "

Keep in mind that licensed parts cost more, so even if they involve you spending more money, they will be better.

We are pleased that we do not provide any support or warranty for this part.

You can write XXX for the data sheet, which may or may not arrive.

Please enjoy.

Email template

Adjust at any time and send it to:



Dear ladies of APA Electronic Co Ltd:

Due to your recent attempt to scare the suppliers of WS2812 LED products through the threat of legal action [see 1] I want to inform you:

*I deleted any of your products from my professional electronic design.

*I deleted any of your products from my research project.

*I removed any of your products from lectures for undergraduate and master courses.

*I deleted any of your products from my personal project.

*I have added your company to the exclusion list of part manufacturers.

kind regards

Last name


Will they go to China? :-)

These companies are all promoted through these ads, which is great, but what about all the companies in the US (such as Adafruit) and companies that sell the same products?

"Advertising" is the wrong word. Maybe it's "propaganda".

We asked Phil and Limor at Adafruit and they said that they have not received such a letter.

Very strange, I always thought WorldSemi was the first to use these LEDs.

For those who are using the clock signal on the APA102, the APA104 is the same as the WS2812. In fact, the reason why Adafruit is now mainly using it for NeoPixel products instead of WS2812 is simply because their performance is much better.

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