The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled May 8 that OFS Fitel LLC and its coating supplier Momentive UV Coatings Co., Ltd. did not violate Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 with regards to four DSM Desotech patents related to fiber coatings. The ruling closed an investigation launched in December 2016 after DSM Desotech and Dutch company DSM IP Assets B.V. filed a complaint with the ITC at the end of the previous October, alleging that OFS and Momentive “based upon the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain UV curable coatings for optical fibers, coated optical fibers, and products containing same” violated DSM patents. The ITC ruled such claims invalid.
The ITC’s final ruling followed an initial determination by an administrative law judge February 15, 2018, that Shanghai-based Momentive had violated two of DSM’s patents; OFS was not found to be in violation. All parties involved filed petitions for review of these findings, which culminated in the recent ITC ruling.
“On review, the Commission has now determined that DSM has not shown that Respondents have violated section 337,” wrote Lisa R. Barton, secretary to the Commission, in reporting the final ruling.
OFS, naturally, was happy with the outcome. "OFS takes pride and care in use of our technology developed through decades of sustained research and development and innovation. OFS also respects the intellectual property rights of others, but will vigorously defend ourselves when we believe we are targeted with baseless attacks,” said Dr. Timothy F. Murray, CEO and chairman of OFS, via a press release.
“We were surprised to be charged with patent infringement based on the use of coatings to make optical fiber by DSM, a foreign coatings manufacturer who supplies cable coating products to OFS and has been a supplier of fiber coatings in the past,” Dr. Murray continued. “It is a measure of the strength of our U.S. system of commercial and intellectual property law that foreign companies come to this country to seek just treatment. We appreciate the diligence and care taken by the ITC to hear and understand the arguments of both parties in delivering this ruling. The invalidation of the claims in the patents asserted by DSM is a cautionary note to those who attempt to use unsupportable positions to threaten action."
DSM has not released a statement on the ITC ruling.
The patents at issue were U.S. Patent No. 6,961,508; U.S. Patent No. 7,171,103; U.S. Patent No. 7,067,564; and U.S. Patent No. 7,706,659. DSM withdrew its claims related to U.S. Patent No. 7,067,564 prior to the evidentiary hearing that led to the initial determination.
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