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Fujitsu Sues Tellabs

Raymond McConville
News Analysis
Raymond McConville

Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY) has fired a lawsuit at Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) for allegedly infringing on four optics-related patents.

Fujitsu, which filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction against Tellabs.

The four patents in question -- Nos. 5,526,163; 5,521,737; 5,386,418; and 6,487,686 -- are all related to optical communications technologies, including intellectual property associated with Sonet, SDH, and DWDM.

Fujitsu claims that the Tellabs 7100 Optical Transport System, the 5500 series, and 6300 series are infringing on the patents, but did not specify which products from the Fujitsu family are tied to the lawsuit.

"There isn't one specific product, it's more of the technology and the intellectual property in general," said a Fujitsu spokesman.

The four patents all cover fundamental optical transport functions. Two are optical amplifier related, one deals with timing and synchronization, and the other describes error correction in transport. They're also all relatively old patents, with three of the four having been registered in in the mid-1990s.

Due to the basic nature of the patents and the older Tellabs products referenced, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin believes it unlikely that the lawsuit is related to the switch fabric in the new Fujitsu Flashwave 9500 that is rumored to have won the big Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) second-source RFP. (See Report: Fujitsu Wins Verizon RFP.)

It's more likely that the dispute is in reference to the older 7500 Flashwave ROADM product. "Optical amplifiers are related to the 7500, and I believe error correction would be as well," says Perrin.

A Tellabs spokesperson commented that the company is still reviewing the case and "believes the case is without merit."

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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12/5/2012 | 3:49:01 PM
re: Fujitsu Sues Tellabs
Had a quick look at the patents, pretty fundamental stuff. It will be interesting to see Tellabs' response and if the optical component manufacturers end up in the middle of the dispute.
12/5/2012 | 3:48:44 PM
re: Fujitsu Sues Tellabs
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