Furukawa Electric North America and OFS Fitel file suit against Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company

June 20, 2005 - Suit alleges that the China-based company infringes at least four U.S. patents related to singlemode and multimode optical fiber.

Furukawa Electric North America and it's wholly-owned subsidiary OFS Fitel LLC has commenced federal litigation against Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company Ltd. alleging that the China-based company infringes at least four U.S. patents related to singlemode and multimode optical fiber and processes for making optical fiber.

In a June 17 press release, Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company (YOFC), based in Wuhan, China, argues that it conducts its own research and development, and vows to fight the lawsuit.

"YOFC itself invests heavily in research and development, has its own extensive intellectual property portfolio, and has great respect for the sanctity of the intellectual property rights of others," the release states. "Accordingly, YOFC intends to defend this lawsuit and its reputation vigorously."

In a complaint filed on June 10 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, YOFC is accused of offering, distributing, selling and importing optical fiber that infringes several U.S. patents, and is seeking unspecified monetary damages from YOFC as well as a permanent injunction barring the importation and sale of YOFC's core suite of optical fiber based products.

OFS, formerly the U.S. optical fiber business of Lucent Technologies purchased by Furukawa in 2001, was an early pioneer in optical fiber design, manufacturing processes, and systems-related products for telecommunications technologies.

"The decision to proceed with this patent infringement filing was carefully considered," says Carl Johnston, general counsel for OFS. "We want everyone to know that we will vigorously protect our intellectual property from companies that illegally use our technology.

"OFS invests millions of dollars each year in research and development to create new, patented inventions that bring significant value to our customers, and are determined to stay the leader by utilizing our superior functionality and performance, our high reliability, low cost structure - and by zealously guarding our intellectual property, " Johnston continues.

The proceedings instituted by OFS come at a time when the optical telecommunications industry is focusing on new fiber and system designs to enhance, among other things, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) applications.

"The optical telecommunications industry is focusing on fiber and systems designs to enable more efficient and high bandwidth systems and services that will drive a new generation of optical fiber-based telecommunications," Johnston continues. "Over more than a decade OFS has assembled a portfolio of optical telecommunications and related technologies, presenting us with compelling opportunities as we help drive the convergence of various technologies and features into next generation of optical telecommunications."

The OFS intellectual property portfolio today includes several hundred issued U.S. patents, many assigned from the Lucent patent portfolio as part of the 2001 purchase, and more that are the result of OFS research and development efforts since 2001.

OFS is based in Norcross, GA. For more information visit www.ofsoptics.com.

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