By Eric Schweibenz
On March 5, 2009, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to institute an investigation of certain optoelectronic devices, components thereof, and products containing the same.

The investigation is based on a February 3, 2009 complaint filed by Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., Avago Technologies General IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., and Avago Technologies Ltd. of San Jose, California.  The complaint alleges violations of section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain optoelectronic devices, components thereof, and products containing the same.  According to the complaint, the products at issue in this investigation “concern aspects of fiber optics.”  More particularly, according to the complaint, the devices at issue transmit electronic digital information optically by converting such information into light signals that are passed through an optical fiber and upon receiving the light signals, a receiving device converts the light signals into electronic digital format.  

Emcore Corporation of Albuquerque, New Mexico is the sole respondent in this investigation.  Notably, Avago alleges that the products at issue are used in optoelectronic devices built and/or sold in the U.S. by companies such as Boeing, Cisco, Lockheed Martin, Motorola, and others, but no other companies were named as potential respondents. 

In its complaint, Avago alleges that Emcore infringes claims 1-6 of U.S. Patent No. 5,359,447 and claim 8 of U.S.  Patent No. 5,761,229.

There is quite an extensive litigation history with respect to these two patents.  According to the complaint, Avago’s predecessor, Agilent, filed a lawsuit in the Delaware district court against Methode Electronics and Stratos Lightwave in 2000, and another lawsuit in the Northern District of California against E20 and E20 Communications in 2001, but settlement was reached before trial in both matters.  Further, Avago sued Finisar Corp. in Delaware in 2006; again, settlement was reached before trial.

Regarding potential relief, Avago’s complaint requests that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

According to the Notice of Investigation, Kecia J. Reynolds of the Office of Unfair Import Investigations is the Investigative Attorney assigned to handle this investigation.