Sterlite Technologies Ltd. (STL), an Indian cable manufacturer, had filed a case against Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) in patent infringement litigation in Delhi High Court earlier this month in January 2022.
What’s the Sterlite Technologies, Himachal Futuristic Dispute all about?
The product for which Sterlite Technologies is blaming patent infringement on HFCL is STL’s Multitube Micro Cable technology and is a part of STL’s optical networking solutions. According to STL, this product was researched and developed in‐house by them and is covered by STL’s Patent No. lN 335369 in India.
STL also stated that it currently has a global patent portfolio of 678 patents across optical networking, system integration, 5G, and wireless solutions technologies.
Progress in STL and HFCL Patent Infringement Dispute
Upon receiving complaint from STL, Delhi High Court on 12th January 2022 “restrained HFCL, its subsidiaries, directors, servants, agents, licensee or any related/ parent companies, dealers, stockists and distributors and/or anyone claiming any right through any of them, restraining them, jointly and severally, in any manner, from making, manufacturing, using, offering for sale, selling, exporting and importing the optical fibre cables covered under the STL’s Patent no. lN 335369 in India, as it may amount to infringement of the said Patent that is related to STL’s Multitube Micro Cable technology”.
The Court‐appointed Commissioners visited HFCL Hyderabad manufacturing facility on 19th January 2022 to verify the extent of the infringement and for appropriate seizure action. The Commissioners have taken samples of the infringing optical fibre cables to be submitted before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court along with their report.
In the latest hearing on 25th January 2022, the Hon’ble Court has rejected plea from STL to further carry out inspection at two other HFCL’s production facilities based in Goa and Chennai for verification and evidence collection related to alleged patent infringement.
The court has sought reply on some points from both the companies and given time to reply until next date on 4th March 2022.
HFCL’s Stand on the Patent Infringement Dispute with STL
HFCL, in its filing to the exchanges on the dispute with STL, said that the company has received an ex-parte order passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on case filed by STL, restraining the manufacturing and sales of the product in question until the next date of hearing.
HFCL also stated the sale of optical fiber cable covered under alleged Patent No. 335369 is insignificant to the company’s total sales of optical fiber cables.
HFCL also argued that it has been manufacturing cable based on specifications provided by customers since 2014. It further stated that STL’s claim had no merit as STL’s application on a similar patent was already turned down by the European Union (EU).
HFCL said that it has already initiated required legal actions and would wait for Court’s final decision. This is a very rare occurrence in Indian Cable industry as none of the companies have raised any such concerns in recent years.