Finisar sues Agilent over new monitoring patent

Finisar Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Agilent Technologies after being awarded U.S. Patent #6,941,077 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding its digital diagnostics technology.

SUNNYVALE, CA - Finisar Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Agilent Technologies after being awarded U.S. Patent #6,941,077 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding its digital diagnostics technology. The ‘077 patent protects an invention covering circuitry and methods for monitoring optoelectronic devices such as optical transceivers and is one of a family of at least five “digital diagnostics” patents that Finisar expects the U.S. Patent Office to issue in the coming months.

The lawsuit alleges that Agilent refused repeated offers by Finisar to license its digital diagnostics technology. Finisar is seeking a substantial award of damages for lost profits on sales of at least $1.1 billion, a trebling of those damages for willful patent infringement, and injunctive relief to prevent further manufacture, marketing and sale of Agilent transceiver products which incorporate Finisar technology. The lawsuit also alleges infringement of Finisar’s U.S. Patent #5,019,769, which covers a semiconductor laser diode controller and laser diode biasing control method.

“Finisar scientists invented digital diagnostics technology to solve the reliability concerns of the storage industry,” said Jerry Rawls, Finisar’s President and CEO. “Since then, the technology has become standard in the datacom and telecom fields as well. It is an extremely valuable asset of our Company that we have actively sought to license to industry players. Agilent has ignored our requests to engage in a meaningful dialogue.”

Digital diagnostics technology allows real-time monitoring of transceiver operating conditions and helps to locate faults in fiberoptic systems, simplifying maintenance and enhancing reliability. Other aspects of this technology allow advanced transceiver control which improves performance and safety. Many features of Finisar’s digital diagnostics technology have been incorporated into widely used industry specifications, such as the SFF-8472, XFP, and DWDM-SFP optical transceiver standards, demonstrating the industry’s recognition of the value of Finisar’s innovation.

Finisar’s total patent portfolio includes 393 issued U.S. patents and 359 issued foreign patents. In addition, there are 792 pending U.S. patent applications and 394 pending foreign patent applications.

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