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Judge Rules Sumitomo Electric Infringed Corning Glass Patents

October 14, 1987|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Sumitomo Electric Industries infringed on two Corning Glass Works patents for fiber optics, but not on a third, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge William C. Conner ordered the Japanese company to stop making or selling the affected optical wave guide fibers, which are thin strands of glass used in telecommunications to transmit such things as telephone calls and computer data.

Sumitomo also was found liable for monetary damages, but the judge said the amount would be determined at a later trial.

Conner ruled Sumitomo infringed on two of Corning's patents for the structure and composition of the optic fibers. He found Sumitomo had not infringed on a more recent Corning patent covering a process for producing such fibers.

The decision arose out of a Sumitomo suit filed in North Carolina trying to invalidate Corning's patents. Corning answered with its own lawsuit in 1985 and the two cases were consolidated at federal court in New York.

Sumitomo makes fiber optic cable at a facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Conner noted that earlier decisions in the Canadian courts and the U.S. International Trade Commission had found previous patent fiber optics infringement by Sumitomo.

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