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Fujikura to Fight STL in UK Court over Fibre Optic Cable Patent

Tuesday, Oct 24th, 2023 (2:54 pm) - Score 1,752

A new legal battle has begun in the High Court after cable manufacturer Fujikura and its UK subsidiary, Fujikura Europe, filed a patent infringement action against India-based Sterlite Technologies (STL), which is related to one of STL’s improved fibre optic cable designs (European Patent 3796060).

The patent in question (details) refers to improved high density, reduced diameter fibre optic cables for air assisted installation into ducts and conduit. Such cables help to support some of the full fibre (FTTP) broadband and optical Ethernet networks that many of us enjoy today.

The patent infringement action took place yesterday, although at the time of writing we haven’t yet been able to find more detail on the substance of the complaint itself.


Fujikura’s Statement

Fujikura Limited and its U.K. subsidiary, Fujikura Europe Ltd, have filed a patent infringement action in the High Court of the U.K. against Sterlite Technologies Ltd (India) for infringement of European Patent 3796060. The patent relates to telecommunications cables and, in particular, to improved high density, reduced diameter fiber optic cables for air assisted installation into ducts and conduit.

Fujikura defends its patented technologies against unauthorized use as part of an overall strategy to protect the group’s substantial investments and efforts in research and development.

Since its establishment in 1885, Fujikura has contributed to the creation of value of its customers and the development of society in various fields, including energy, telecommunications, electronics, and automotive products, through its focus on leadership in advanced technologies.

We have contacted STL for a comment, although our suspicion is that they won’t be able to say much more than to confirm the action and an intention to defend their position.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Jonnie says:

    I understand STL has pulled out of the UK market, and their planning team made redundant anyway

  2. Avatar photo Sid says:

    why are a Japanese company taking an India company to court in the UK? is the patent infringement only affecting the UK?

    1. Avatar photo Name says:

      Looking at their website I am guessing their European HQ is in the UK.

    2. Avatar photo FTTX says:

      This was something to expected I am sure STL knew it would come… The Fujikura innovation was received well in the UK by a number of operators, STL then released a ‘similar’ version.

      LOTs of very expensive cable in the ground and business lost so this will be interesting to watch. I’m glad I am not paying the legal bills for this!

    3. Avatar photo aled says:

      Patent wars are a bit of a mess and tend to be misconceived by the average layman.

      Patent claims tend to go in a particular direction, initially one party may perceive their “unique technology” is being exploited by others, a patent claim is made and the defending party will usually go “but this technology is obvious! it should be made void!” and it becomes a bit of an arms race to figure out if there are any prior art examples, or suggesting a suitably gifted 12 year old could figure out the problem given the challenge.

      I am not a lawyer and I’m not pretending this is official advice or anything. But the gist of the patent seems to be focussed on the solution of “how do we make smaller fibre optic cables?” and the primary claim seems to be along the lines of “it’s useful to glue the fibres together to keep them in position, but glue takes up space and makes them thicker, therefore we will twist the wires slightly and INTERMITTENTLY glue the fibres together along the length of the cable”

      i.e. significant reduction in diameter and a few strength/binding benefits.

      On the other hand, I’m really not sure I am wowed by a patent where the primary claim is basically “adhesive is thick so we’re going to save space by intermittently gluing the fibres together along the length of the cables”.

      It might be a really spectacular patent and I’m just not grasping some fundamental revolutionary part and there may be other claims in play, but from a brief 5-minute read that’s what I took away from it.

  3. Avatar photo Jon says:

    I would hazard to guess that it is concerning the spider ribbon technology which Openreach adopted 5-10 years ago. The tech enables them to complete ribbon splicing, speeding splicing, while still blowing the cables containing the fibre, something that wasnt possible before that with other cable/fibre techs. The fibre is made in Japan, and cabled in the UK. STL copied it.

Comments are closed

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