Today, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a Notice of Commission Final Determination following its review of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Shaw’s September 2017 rulings concerning, among other things, three patents alleged to be essential to the Linear Tape Open (LTO) 7 standard (LTO-7). (see our Dec. 19, 2017 post summarizing ALJ Shaw’s decision). Specifically, the ITC affirmed ALJ Shaw’s ruling that the ‘612, ‘106 and ‘805 patents are not essential to the LTO-7 Standard (with one caveat):
The Commission has determined to affirm with modification the Final ID’s finding that the asserted claims of the ‘612, 106, and ‘805 patents are not essential to the LTO-7 Standard. In particular, with respect to the ‘106 patent, the Commission has determined not to reach the issue of whether the LTO-7 Standard requires a tape having a magnetic layer that contains an abrasive. The Commission has determined to otherwise adopt the Final ID’s findings that the LTO-7 Standard does not require practice of the asserted claims of the ‘612, 106, and ‘805 Patents. The Commission has determined not to reach any other issues concerning Sony’s essentiality defenses. [Notice at 5]
The last statement about not reaching any of Sony’s essentiality defenses presumably refers to Sony’s breach of contract, patent misuse, implied license, patent exhaustion, and waiver defenses, all of which were premised on the patent claims being essential to the LTO-7 standard.
The ITC further found that there was no violation of those patents, because they were not infringed or were invalid. The ITC did decide there was a violation regarding another patent at issue in the investigation: the ‘891 Patent, which was not alleged to be essential to a standard. The ITC issued a limited exclusion order and cease/desist order based on infringement of that ‘891 Patent.