JDSU Ends Tunable Wars

The lawsuits are settled, and the ITC air strike has been called off

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

April 17, 2009

2 Min Read
JDSU Ends Tunable Wars

The food fight over tunable laser patents is over, as JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) has settled all its lawsuits related to the technology.

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California offically closed JDSU's lawsuits against CyOptics Inc. and Syntune AB , saying the companies had reached a settlement.

Separately, JDSU officials tell Light Reading that the ITC suit, which was filed in November and sought to ban the allegedly infringing lasers from import, is settled and done with.

Earlier in the week, Bookham Inc. (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM) disclosed that its patent lawsuits with JDSU were settled, as was its part in the ITC complaint. (See Bookham, JDSU Settle Laser Tiff.) So, that's a wrap!

The ITC suit was particularly interesting, because JDSU was calling for a ban on allegedly infringing tunable-laser imports. That would have affected Bookham, CyOptics, and Syntune products -- but the proposed ban also included systems from ADVA Optical Networking , Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA).

That drew some stares. Given its size, JDSU probably sells something into each of those four companies, and suing one's own customers is the kind of thing that gets you fired by Donald Trump.

It turns out JDSU moved quickly to settle the cases with the systems companies. Ciena's 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March provides details -- namely, that Ciena was dismissed from the ITC investigation but had to agree it would abide by any ban that got enforced.

It's unclear whether the other systems companies were put under the same provision. Ciena's SEC filing adds that the company didn't have to pay any money as part of the settlement.

Companies sue each other over patents all the time, but the tunable laser has particular significance. Tunable lasers have been a star for Bookham in recent years, and analysts indicate the company has increased its share in that market.

But JDSU has been aggressive with its monolithically integrated tunable laser and modulator. Packing the two onto one indium phosphide (InP) device was a key step in producing the tunable XFP transcevier that JDSU showed off at OFC/NFOEC. (See JDSU, Emcore Shrink Tunables.)

Syntune, another company touting monolithic integration for tunables, has been quieter but received a payoff of sorts today. Ignis ASA , the Norwegian company whose Ignis Photonyx AS subsidiary sells optical components, announced a plan to buy Syntune. (See Ignis to Acquire Syntune.)

Under Bookham's settlement with JDSU, Bookham will pay up to $8 million in past, present, and future royalties. It's unclear whether CyOptics and Syntune are paying royalties, too. Neither company could be reached immediately for comment.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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