Fed. Cir. Upholds Win on Optical Beam Switching Patent

Written December 2, 2019

The Federal Circuit on November 21, 2019, held that Nokia of America Corp. and Ciena Corp. didn’t infringe an optical beam switching patent after finding relevant claims of the patent invalid. Fiber LLC v. Ciena Corp., Fed. Cir., No. 19-1005, 11/21/19.

Fiber sued Nokia, Ciena, and other companies for infringing US Patent No. 7,095,917. The ‘917 patent covered an “optical beam switching system” that switches light beams between optical fibers. The companies argued that the asserted claims of the patent were invalid, and the district court agreed. The court found the claims included “means-plus-function” terms, and were invalid as indefinite because the patent’s specification didn’t describe a corresponding structure to perform the function.

The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that “control” was a means-plus-function term, and that it was indefinite because it related to the function of “positioning a beam directing device to direct the optical beam” without including a structure to perform it.

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