By Eric Schweibenz
On September 25, 2012, Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, Avago Technologies General IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, and Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. of San Jose, California (collectively, “Avago”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that IPtronics A/S of Denmark and IPtronics Inc. of Menlo Park, California (collectively, “IPtronics”), FCI USA, LLC of Etters, Pennsylvania, FCI Deutschland GmbH of Germany, and FCI SA of France (collectively, “FCI”), and Mellanox Technologies, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California and Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. of Israel (collectively, “Mellanox”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain optoelectronic devices for fiber optic communications, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,947,456 (the ‘456 patent) and 5,596,595 (the ‘595 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to certain aspects of fiber optic communications.  In particular, the ‘456 patent is directed to improving the operation of semiconductor lasers, such as vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), within optoelectronic devices, such as transmitters and transceivers.  The ‘595 patent is directed to certain VCSELs that include layers for improving the heat spreading and current spreading capabilities of the laser.

In the complaint, Avago states that IPtronics, FCI, and Mellanox import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to IPtronics’s VCSEL drivers and evaluation boards, FCI’s transceivers and active optical cables, and Mellanox’s transceivers and active optical cables as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Avago states that it currently makes and sells optoelectronic products that practice the asserted claims of the asserted patents.  Avago also states that it has made substantial investments in the U.S. relating to the exploitation—including R&D and technical support—of products covered by the asserted patents.  Avago specifically refers to its domestic research and development facility in San Jose, California and an office in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Avago also refers to a significant employment of labor at its U.S. facilities and a significant investment in research and development in the U.S.

As to related litigation, Avago states that the ‘456 patent has been subject to ex parte reexamination at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”).  According to the complaint, the PTO confirmed the patentability of the original claims (with minor typographical corrections) and granted new claims.  Avago also states that IPtronics filed a request for inter partes reexamination of the ‘456 patent, but the PTO denied the request.  In addition, Avago states that its predecessor filed lawsuits against E2O and E2O Communications Pte. Ltd. and Method Electronics, Inc. and Stratos Lightwave, Inc. alleging infringement of the ‘595 patent.  The complaint states that these cases were dismissed pursuant to settlement agreements.  Lastly, Avago states that on June 29, 2010, Avago Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against IPtronics alleging infringement of, inter alia, the ‘456 patent.  The complaint states that that case is currently pending.

With respect to potential remedy, Avago requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at IPtronics, FCI, and Mellanox.