ITC Patent Docket Update: More Requests from Licensing Companies to Ban Phones and Laptops
Last week, the ITC received three new Section 337 complaints. Two of the new complaints have been brought solely to pressure potential licensees to settle disputes already being litigated in federal district court. Meanwhile, a much more appropriate investigation involving multiple foreign respondents was terminated after the agency found a violation and issued a general exclusion order.
Active Matrix OLED Display Devices and Components Thereof (Dkt. No. 3490)
This complaint, filed on September 14, asserts three patents related to LED display technology against Apple, Dell, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony and seeks to block imports of various smart watches, phones, laptops, and televisions. The complainant, Solas OLED Ltd., is an Ireland-based patent licensing company that appears to have purchased the patents from Casio in 2016. This dispute is also being litigated in the Western District of Texas and at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. To prove the existence of a domestic industry in its ITC complaint, Solas is relying on the investments of a third party licensee—eMagin—that manufactures OLED displays in the United States for use in military applications and does not compete with respondents.
Shingled Solar Modules, Components Thereof, And Methods for Manufacturing the Same (Dkt. No. 3491)
Solaria filed this complaint against Canadian Solar on September 15, asserting three patents that describe the manufacturing of solar panels without white lines. The parties appear to be competitors who both develop and market solar modules manufactured abroad. They are also currently litigating their dispute in district court.
Digital Video-Capable Devices and Components Thereof (Dkt. No. 3492)
On September 18, Netherlands-based Koninklijke Philips filed this complaint asserting four digital authentication patents against chipmakers Intel, MediaTek, and Realtek as well device makers Dell, Hisense, HP, Lenovo, LG, and TCL seeking to block imports of various laptops, televisions, and monitors. Philips does not make any products that practice these particular patents and so is planning to prove the existence of a domestic industry by subpoena, relying on investments from three third-party licensees—Microsoft, Roku, and Samsung. The complaint also argues that Philips’s own investments in licensing the patents are sufficient to satisfy the domestic industry test.
Luxury Vinyl Tile and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 1155)
The ITC terminated this investigation on September 16 finding a violation of Section 337 by defaulting respondents and issuing a general exclusion order. The complainant in this case—U.S.-based manufacturer Mohawk Industries—asserted three patents related to interlocking floor panels against 45 named respondents representing 13 competing brands. Most of the respondents were dropped from the investigation after entering into settlement agreements and the rest failed to participate in the proceedings.