SYLMAR, CA-An agreement initiated in September 2003 that gave Finisar Corporation (Sunnyvale, CA) a nonexclusive license to the technology and intellectual property (IP) of QPC Lasers (parent of Quintessence Photonics Corporation; Sylmar, CA) was terminated in November.
“Since we became a public company in May of this year, QPC felt it was important to give our investors the exclusive right to our rich IP portfolio going forward,” said QPC co-founder and CFO George Lintz. “The original license agreement gave QPC the option of termination within five years and we always expected to exercise our termination right.”
In 2001, Finisar invested $5 million in equity in QPC, and in 2003 the company secured the license agreement in exchange for adding another $5 million to its significant equity position. The termination of the license agreement secures the IP portfolio for QPC and benefits QPC and Finisar alike-especially considering that Finisar remains the single-largest shareholder with 6.75 million shares of QPC Lasers common stock. In the License Termination Agreement dated September 18, 2006, QPC agreed to pay Finisar $6 million (with favorable terms) as a termination fee obligated by a promissory note.
In addition to its recent public-company status, “QPC is right at the inflection point of growth,” said QPC senior VP of marketing and sales, Paul Rudy. “We really wanted to take the reigns of our business and move forward without complications, focusing on our strong patent portfolio in high-power, high-brightness semiconductor lasers.” According to Rudy, the healthy revenue outlook for QPC (see Optoelectronics Report, August 1, 2006, p. 6) is the direct result of its patented high-power surface-emitting lasers and strong research and development efforts directed at the focusing power of its devices with high spatial brightness, plus a line of mid-infrared lasers.
Enabled by ongoing advances in spatial and spectral brightness due to the incorporation of BrightLase non-absorbing mirrors and gratings within the internal structure of its laser diode products, QPC continues to experience “substantial” sales growth, according to Rudy. The high brightness of QPC’s diode lasers enables the replacement of conventional Nd:YAG lasers in medical applications (vein and skin treatments and hair removal) and defense applications (direct target illumination).
“Our sales growth (also) reflects increased business in high-performance pumping applications along with new direct diode laser applications-especially in the mid-IR region for applications in sensing and homeland security,” Rudy said.
In early October, QPC announced the first shipment of high-brightness semiconductor laser modules for integration into an important military navigation and targeting pod, with the acceptance of the initial units to be followed up by shipments pursuant to a production contract between QPC and the Israel Ministry of Defense. And in November, QPC announced the release of its BrightLase semiconductor laser modules and their shipment to customers for medical applications. In addition to the defense and medical markets, QPC is also seeing healthy growth for its 808 nm and 980 nm pump lasers for fiber amplifiers and diode-pumped solid-state lasers.
For a more in-depth review of the markets for high-power semiconductor lasers, with an emphasis on emerging applications in defense, homeland security, medical, and industrial markets, be sure to see Paul Rudy present “Existing and Emerging Markets for High Brightness Semiconductor Lasers” at the Laser and Photonics Marketplace Seminar. Held in conjunction with Photonics West 2007, the Marketplace Seminar will take place on January 22, 2007 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA.