Viavi Solutions Sues LG and its Suppliers over 3D Sensory Tech

Viavi Solutions Inc. is suing Optrontec Inc. and the LG companies LG Innotek Co., Ltd., LG Electronics, Inc., and LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. in the Northern District of California for infringing on U.S. Patent Nos. 9,588,269 (“the ’269 patent”), 9,945,995 (“the ’995 patent”), and 10,222,526 (“the ’526 patent”) which are components in Viavi’s optical filter and sensor system (Viavi Solutions Inc. v. Optrontec Inc. et al 4:19-cv-07578). Optronic is a supplier to LG Electronics. All defendants, with the exception of LG Electronics U.S.A., are based in the Republic of Korea.

The optical filter in question was designed to be used in 3D motion sensing technology, which allows users to control their devices by making gestures. The plaintiff explained that it is a world leader in various fields including 3D motion sensing, light management, and optical coatings. The complaint detailed how typical optical filters are used to transmit near-infrared light that is later reflected toward a 3D image sensor, while attempting to block out as much ambient light as possible. The patented design allows the filter to function in extreme variations in lighting conditions. Additionally, the patented designs create a thinner than normal filter with better center wavelength shift and uses a hydrogenated silicon material to create a better optical performance. The optical filter design, as covered in the patents, won the 2017 Fierce Innovation Award in the Telecom category and Viavi asserted that it is better, smaller, and cheaper than competing inventions.

The complaint specifically named the LG G8 ThinQ mobile phone as containing the patented technology in the 3D motion sensing and gesture recognition part of the camera, which is referred to commercially as the “Time of Flight” or “ToF” module. The complaint put forth quotes from Optrontec stating that they are the exclusive suppliers of optical filters to LG and Samsung. It also alleges that the defendants knew about or should have known about the patents.

Viavi seeks a permanent injunction against further patent violations, enough compensatory damages for both past and future violations to cover reasonable royalties, prejudgment interest, any other damages to recover economic injury, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Venable.