By Eric Schweibenz and Alex Englehart
On December 22, 2017, Neptune Subsea Acquisitions Ltd. of the United Kingdom, Neptune Subsea IP Ltd. of the United Kingdom, and Xtera, Inc. of Allen, Texas (“Xtera”) (collectively, “Complainants”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain subsea telecommunication systems and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,380,068 (the ’068 patent), 7,860,403 (the ’403 patent), 8,971,171 (the ’171 patent), 8,351,798 (the ’798 patent), and 8,406,637 (the ’637 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Nokia Corp. of Finland
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks B.V. of the Netherlands
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy of Finland
  • Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks SAS of France
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks US LLC of Phoenix, Arizona
  • NEC Corp. of Japan
  • NEC Networks & System Integration of Japan
  • NEC Corp. of America of Irving, Texas

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to subsea telecommunications technology. In particular, the ’068 patent relates to dispersion compensation in an optical fiber communication system. The ’403 patent relates to optically encoding data for transmission over a WDM optical communications system. The ’171 patent relates to improving the transmission of optical signals over long distances by dividing an encoded sequence between two or more separate channels. The ’798 patent relates to addressing problems with conventional submarine fiber-optic systems by causing the minimum accumulated dispersion in such systems to occur approximately halfway along the intended transmission distance. Lastly, the ’637 patent relates to improving the quality and effectiveness of the entire subsea telecommunication system.

The complaint states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to NEC Submarine Repeatered Subsea Systems and Nokia systems using Photonic Service Engine 2 Super Coherent Technology and/or 1620LM SLTE as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Complainants state that Xtera uses the technology of the asserted patents in its own products, including its Nu-Wave Optima platform. Complainants further state that Xtera conducts relevant engineering, design, research, development, distribution, customer service, warranty service, and repair activities in the U.S. relating to Xtera’s domestic industry products. Complainants specifically refer to an Xtera facility in Texas where Xtera carries out various activities relating to Xtera’s domestic industry.

With respect to potential remedy, Complainants request that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents and related entities.