PLP sued for patent infringement over sealed fiber-optic enclosures

Channell has charged Preformed Line Products with patent infringement.

As reported by our sister site, Lightwave, enclosure and connectivity supplier Channell Commercial Corp. has sued Preformed Line Products (PLP) for patent infringement. The litigation involves underground sealed enclosures for fiber-optic connectivity. PLP calls the assertions “baseless and without merit.”

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that PLP’s Coyote Ground Level Closure infringes Channell's U.S. Patent Nos. 7,381,888 entitled Grade Level Enclosures for Underground Utility Connections and 7,385,137 entitled Enclosure System for Underground Utility Connection. The patents cover Channell's improvements in converting ground-level vaults from permanent flush-to-grade installations, with enclosures and cables stored securely underground, to above ground network installations.

The first of the Channell patents is for the grade-level enclosure's improved sidewall structural strength in an array of applications. The second relates to improvements in converting from below ground or above ground enclosure installations in a split-cover design application and the ability of disconnecting the enclosure from its base or swing-arm and working on the unit remotely before returning it to its original location.

"While we hope to resolve our differences with PLP fairly and amicably, Channell considers its technology proprietary and will fight to protect its forward thinking designs against PLP's Coyote GLC (Ground Level Closure) Series," said Channell CEO William Channell Jr. via a press release. "We are confident that Channell has strong patent rights that are being infringed by PLP. Our job is to protect and enforce those rights so that Channell receives the benefits of its innovations," added Attorney David Dillard of Christie, Parker & Hale, which represents Channell. Dillard leads the legal team that filed the case.

PLP begs to differ on the charges. “The COYOTE GLC is an innovative ground level fiber-optic closure system which utilizes PLP's patented segmented endplate design and flexible grommet system,” the company said in a statement. “We regret that Channell has chosen to pursue this course of action in court rather than reaching out for discussion prior to filing their lawsuit. While we hope to resolve this issue amicably, we remain committed to defending our rights and intellectual property to the fullest extent possible.”

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