16 March 2010


ITC rules in favor of Avago in parallel fiber optics case

Avago Technologies Ltd, which designs and supplies analog semiconductor interface components (with a focus on III-V based products) for communications, industrial and consumer applications, says that on 12 March, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued the initial determination, finding a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in favor of Avago, upholding the validity of its patents and finding that Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM infringes Avago’s intellectual property by importing and selling certain optoelectronics products used in optical communication systems. After a one-week hearing last November and a post-hearing briefing, the ITC also rejected Emcore’s invalidity and other defenses.

In March 2009, the ITC voted to institute an investigation (337-TA-669) based on a complaint filed on 3 February by Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Avago Technologies General IP (Singapore) Pte Ltd, and Avago Technologies Ltd of San Jose, CA alleging that Emcore was making fiber-optic components that infringe claims 1-6 of Avago’s US patent number 5,359,447 and claim 8 of US patent number 5,761,229.

In last week’s initial determination, the ITC found that Avago patents cover parallel fiber optics products and components made and sold by Emcore and used for data communications for core routing and enterprise networking.

“Avago remains committed to protecting and, where necessary, taking action to enforce its valuable patent and intellectual property rights,” says the firm’s general counsel Patricia H. McCall. “Our belief in the strength of our intellectual property in parallel fiber optics is validated by this decision.”

In the next phase of the case, the ITC will consider the appropriate scope of an exclusion order enjoining Emcore from importing the infringing optoelectronic products and systems employing these components into the US for the term of Avago’s patents. The ITC has recommended an exclusion order to prevent further importation, and also recommended a cease and desist order to prevent Emcore from selling already imported infringing products.

Prior to the ITC case, in December 2008 Avago sued Emcore in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming damages for infringement of the patents. The District Court case is temporarily stayed until an ITC order becomes final. Avago says that it will pursue the infringement charges in the District Court when the stay is lifted.

Prior to the complaint against Emcore, a lawsuit regarding these patents had previously been filed by Avago in the Delaware district court in 2006 against Finisar Corp. Also, before that (in 2000), Avago’s predecessor Agilent Technologies filed lawsuits in the Delaware district court against Methode Electronics and Stratos Lightwave and (in 2001) in the Northern District of California against E20 and E20 Communications. In all cases, settlement was reached before trial.

See related item:

ITC to probe Avago allegation of patent infringement by Emcore

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