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Optical/IP

Multiplex Employees Get Subpoenas

Multiplex Inc. has confirmed that the company is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey, and said that several of the company’s employees and officials have been issued subpoenas.

The private startup, a maker of integrated 10-Gbit/s optical components, says it believes the investigation is linked to two civil lawsuits filed against it by Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) spinoff Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR) last July.

According to a press release issued by Agere on August 1, 2001, the first lawsuit charges that Multiplex infringed on four patents related to leading-edge optical components and subsystems, including lasers and multiple quantum-well modulators. The second lawsuit, the release claimed, accuses Multiplex of property theft, alleging that the company wrongfully possessed Agere optoelectronic device wafers and other related proprietary property (see Agere Sues Multiplex).

Multiplex, which has raised over $100 million in venture capital, says it will defend all the charges (see Multiplex Scores Another $105M).

"We’ve been defending that lawsuit vigorously,” says Steven Kukoda, Manager for Marketing Communications at Multiplex. “As a company, we of course adhere to the highest legal and ethical standards.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office would not say whether the subpoenas were related to the lawsuits, nor whether any subpoenas had been issued. It is standard procedure not to comment on matters concerning ongoing investigations, says Public Affairs Officer Michael Drewniak.

According to a report by the New York Post two weeks ago, FBI agents had swept through South Plainfield, the seat of Multiplex’s corporate headquarters, as well as neighboring towns to issue subpoenas to about 20 of the company’s employees and officials. [Ed. note: Of course, FBI agents always "sweep," in the Post.]

Kukoda denied that such an FBI raid had taken place but, citing the pending legal investigation, could not give further information on how the subpoenas had been issued.

"We are cooperating fully with the government on this,” he says. "We’re hoping to put the inquiries behind us.”

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
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