6:00 PM -- So, is it a good thing or a bad thing that JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) is getting so aggressive over tunable-laser patents?
Defending one's turf is nice and all, but JDSU is already involved in at least two tunable-laser pattent battles. That the company went on to file a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Nov. 7 could be taken as bad news, at least from the point of view of a JDSU investor.
Pessimistic interpretation No. 1: Maybe JDSU did it because market share is slipping. "We think Bookham's new Indium Phosphide based tunable laser products are rapidly gaining market share," Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. analyst Paul Bonenfant wrote in a note issued late last week.
Then, you've got the PR ramifications. JDSU "likely counts every major optical network equipment supplier among its customers," which would include four of the proposed respondents in the suit: ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) , Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA).
The proposed respondents also include competitors, as you'd expect: Bookham Inc. (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM), CyOptics Inc. , and Syntune AB .
JDSU was already in court for the two patents in the ITC suit -- Nos. 6,658,035 and 6,654,400 -- plus a third, No. 6,687,278. In March, Bookham, after receiving warnings about allegedly infringing those patents, filed a suit seeking to invalidate them. JDSU has countersued, and the lawyers have been scrumming ever since.
Separately, JDSU sued Syntune in July over those three patents.
Santur Corp. has been spared from all of this, but that's because its micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) tunable laser doesn't use a monolithically integrated approach as the others do. (See Santur Girds for Battle.)
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading