June 13, 2007 -- Furukawa Electric North America, Inc. (FENA) and its wholly-owned subsidiary OFS Fitel LLC, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of fiber-optic products, have announced the commencement of federal litigation against Draka Comteq, Inc., alleging that the North Carolina-based company infringes upon several U.S. patents related to singlemode and multimode optical fiber, processes for making optical fiber, and optical fiber cables.
The complaint, filed on June 11, 2007 in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, accuses Draka Comteq of offering, distributing, selling and importing optical fiber and other products that infringe several U.S. patents, and seeks unspecified monetary damages from Draka Comteq as well as a permanent injunction barring the importation and sale of Draka Comteq's core suite of optical fiber based products.
"The decision to proceed with this patent infringement filing was carefully considered," comments Timothy F. Murray, president of operations and engineering 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. We are determined to stay the leader by investing in new technologies that answer the ever changing demands our customers face, striving for operational excellence and by diligently guarding our intellectual property."
Murray notes that the proceedings instituted by FENA on behalf of 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 telecommunications industry is focusing on fiber-optic based solutions to increase their offerings of valuable services to their customers. New fiber and systems designs will be needed for the next generation of optical fiber-based telecommunications," he 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 a new generation of optical telecommunications."
OFS -- formerly the U.S. optical fiber business of Lucent Technologies, purchased by Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. in 2001 -- calls itself "an early pioneer" in a range of optical fiber designs, manufacturing processes, and systems-related products for telecommunications technologies. The FENA and 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.