People who aim laser pointers at planes could face fines of to $250,000 and five years in prison under a bill passed in early December by the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL), who authored the bill, says a series of reported incidents involving aircraft cockpits and laser beams has heightened safety concerns and that it is “only a matter of time before someone ends up killing over 200 people in a commercial airline crash.” After a spike in reports related to “laser illumination” last December, a reporting system was established so the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA; Washington, DC) could track the trend. Since late last year, 287 incidents have been documented, according to the FAA.
Cree (Durham, NC) has licensed its white LED patent, U.S. Patent #6,600,175, to Kingbright Electronic Co. (Taiwan), a LED chip customer. The license authorizes Kingbright to manufacture and sell white LEDs that incorporate Cree chips and is one of several licenses that Cree has granted under the ‘175 patent this year. Kingbright will be using Cree LED chip products exclusively in its white LED product offerings. Founded in 1980, Kingbright is a manufacturer of LED lamps, SMD displays, SMD lamps, and other LED-related products.
OmniVision Technologies (Sunnyvale, CA), a leading supplier of CMOS image sensors, announced that its OV7930 VGA CMOS CameraChip is featured in a video and music entertainment system from one of the largest toy makers in the world. The new toy puts kids on camera so they can see themselves on TV as they sing along to their favorite songs. This toy, which includes a camera, wireless microphone, and special effects lenses, is the first of its kind in the entertainment toy market, according to OmniVision; the toy manufacturer claims more than 1 million of the toys have already been shipped.
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted unanimously to investigate Lumileds Lighting’s (San Jose, CA) complaint of patent infringement by Epistar Corporation and United Epitaxy Co., Ltd. The complaint accuses Epistar’s omnidirectional mirror adhesion AlGaInP LED products and UEC’s metal bond and glue bond AlGaInP LED products of infringing one or more of Lumileds’ patents: U.S. Patents #5,008,718, #5,376,580, and #5,502,316. Lumileds is seeking an exclusion order barring entry into the United States of the accused LEDs as well as products containing those LEDs. Lumileds, which has entered into very few licensing agreements, does not intend to license the technology in question to either UEC or Epistar. Lumileds also filed a complaint against UEC and Epistar in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for infringement of the same patents at issue in the ITC.
EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. (Quebec City, Canada) announced that it has been compliant with the European Union’s (EU) directive regarding the disposal of electrical and electronic equipment, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), since August 13, 2005. Legislation enacted by the EU required that companies operating within its boundaries must have recycling and environmentally sound disposal processes in place to collect and manage WEEE by such a date. In addition, EXFO says all of its manufactured products already meet a related EU directive, requiring companies to recycle at least 50% of the total product weight of a specific WEEE group and recuperate at least 70% of the total product by December 2006.
Tiger Optics (Warrington, PA) has completed a Series B financing led by Expansion Capital Partners (New York and San Francisco) on behalf of Clean Technology Fund II, LP. In conjunction with the financing, a new board of directors will be established that will initially include Lisa Bergson (CEO), Jerry Riddle (Chairman), Bernardo Llovera (Expansion Capital) and Diana Propper de Callejon (Expansion Capital). Tiger Optics designs and manufactures continuous-wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy instruments for fast and highly sensitive detection of trace contaminants in gases. The company has exclusive worldwide rights to patented technology from Princeton University that allows it to market instruments known for accurate measurement of gaseous molecules in a variety of applications.
Emtelle (Amersfoort, The Netherlands), which has been promoting its (air) blown fiber solution, fiberflow, since January 2004, says it is planning significant investment in the U.S. market in 2006. According to the company, sales of the fiberflow solution, particularly in the FTTX market, have shown significant growth in 2005, and a new U.S. stock holding agreement has been put in place to ensure shorter lead times and rapid response to customer requirements. In addition, the Emtelle U.S. sales office is being relocated from Boston to Phoenix to be closer to the housing development market. John Lupton, president of Emtelle since January 2004, is returning to Scotland and George Brown will take over as president of Emtelle Inc. in Phoenix.
Redfern Integrated Optics (RIO; Santa Clara, CA), a developer and manufacturer of optical transmitters for telecommunications, data transmission, and other markets, has secured an additional $2.2 million from GE Capital Equity Investments and Jolimont Ventures, bringing the total amount raised to $8.4 million. This additional financial support finalizes RIO’s third round of funding, which completed its first close at $6.2 million in July, and was led by Advent International, Tallwood Venture Capital, TMT Ventures and Redfern Photonics. In connection with the new financing, Stephen Ezekiel of GE Commercial Finance joined RIO’s board of directors.
Infinitesima (Oxford, England) has formed a partnership with KLA-Tencor’s Growth and Emerging Markets (GEM) division to distribute its products to selected markets. Infinitesima’s core technology is the VideoAFM, the world’s first high-speed, video-rate atomic force microscope (AFM). Under the terms of the agreement, KLA-Tencor will distribute the VideoAFM in North America and Europe. According to the company, the VideoAFM is the first commercially available atomic force microscope capable of delivering real-time images at video frame rates. With imaging rates 1000 times faster than that of conventional AFMs, the VideoAFM allows users to visualize changes in chemical or biological processes at the molecular level in real time.
Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has increased its capacity to make complex coatings with more than 100 layers by adding a new 45-inch-diameter coating chamber. The large coater was manufactured by Vacuum Process Technology (Plymouth, MA) and is equipped with two electron guns and planetary rotation. It also has a high output ion gun, which produces durable “shift-free” coatings. Both quartz crystal and optical monitoring improve Edmund Optic’s ability to meet coating tolerances of less than ±1%.
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