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The Los Angeles Times reports that the University of California Santa Barbara has filed suit against five retailers - Amazon, Walmart, Target, Ikea and Bed Bath & Beyond - claiming that they should be paying it royalties on light bulb sales.

Specifically at issue at “vintage-style LED lightbulbs” that are energy efficient but designed to “imitate the iconic look of the incandescent bulbs developed by Thomas Edison almost a century and a half ago. The dangling Edison bulbs, with their old-fashioned look, glowing filaments and sepia tones, are popular at restaurants and with modern home designers.”

The suit is based on the school’s claim that researchers at its Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center developed the technology allowing “an exposed filament that disperses light in all directions.”

According to the story, “Seth Levy, the lawyer representing the university, said the school had approached some of the retailers to seek a licensing agreement and was rebuffed. The bulbs are all made overseas by many manufacturers, so suing the sellers is more efficient than trying to track down all the manufacturers.”
KC's View:
I guess the school has to look for funding sources in new places now that it can’t depend on parents willing to write big checks to get their less-than-qualified kids admitted. (Just kidding.)

My first reaction to this is that the school is looking for funding in all the wrong places, searching for money in too many places. I’m not sure how retailers can be held culpable for this, if all they are doing is buying the bulbs from manufacturers. But, there recently was a court decision saying that Amazon was responsible for the products sold on its Marketplace site by third-party purveyors, so anything is possible.