Last month, the ITC issued a Notice of ALJ David P. Shaw’s Final Initial Determination on Violation in In the Matter of Certain Audiovisual Components and Products Containing the Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-837), the investigation into LSI/Agere’s allegations that Realtek and Funai infringed 802.11-essential and H.264-essential patents (as well as one non-SEP).  The ITC found

Yesterday, Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw issued a Notice of Initial Determination in In the Matter of Certain Audiovisual Components and Products Containing Same (No. 337-TA-837), an ITC Section 337 investigation based on an infringement complaint brought by LSI and Agere against Funai, Realtek, and Mediatek (who had previously settled out of the case).  

Earlier this week, we discussed N.D. Cal. Judge Ronald Whyte’s order granting partial summary judgment and issuing a preliminary injunction in a Realtek v. LSI district court case.  As we explained in our post, while the district court found that LSI had breached its contractual RAND obligations by filing an ITC complaint without first making

While much of the focus on standard-essential patent litigation issues has been focused on Microsoft-Motorola, Apple-Samsung, and the InterDigital cases, these are far from the only cases dealing with SEP issues.  District courts and the ITC continue to develop case law on SEP and RAND-related issues.

In an order issued yesterday in Realtek Semiconductor v. LSI (No. 12-cv-03451, N.D. Cal.), Judge Ronald Whyte of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction that purports to prevent LSI from enforcing an ITC exclusion order until LSI has complied with its IEEE-related RAND obligations.  According to the order [LINK], this means that LSI must wait to enforce any exclusion order until: (1) the court has determined an appropriate RAND rate for LSI’s 802.11-essential patents, (2) LSI offers a license to Realtek at that rate; and (3) Realtek refuses to enter into a license at the judicially-determined RAND rate (which, as the court states, “Realtek indicates it will not do.).

With the ITC’s decision in the 337-TA-794 investigation (on the propriety of exclusion orders for FRAND-pledged essential patents) involving Samsung and Apple due by the end of the month, this is certainly an interesting development.  But given the way the ITC operates, we’re not so sure that the court’s order is going to have the desired effect.  Let’s take a look at Judge Whyte’s order, shall we?


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The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is a quasi-judicial agency with broad investigative powers relating to trade practices.  These powers include the ability to investigate unfair trade practices relating to the importation of products that infringe valid U.S. patents — so-called “Section 337 actions” (Section 337 actions can encompass other conduct, but are commonly used to target patent infringement).  But because the ITC may only issue injunctive relief (via exclusion orders and cease & desist orders), and cannot award monetary damages, the assertion of standard-essential patents in Section 337 actions has become a subject of great debate.  Within about a month, the Commission will issue a Final Determination in Investigation No. 337-TA-794 (involving Samsung and Apple) that may address the propriety of asserting FRAND-pledged SEPs in Section 337 actions.  In the meantime, however, there are several ongoing ITC investigations where standard-essential patents are being asserted.  Below is a brief summary of where each of these cases currently stand:


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Last week, the ITC released the public version of Order No. 42 in In the Matter of Certain Audiovisual Components and Products Containing the Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-837.  In this order (the confidential version of which issued back in October 2012), Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw granted respondent Realtek Semiconductor’s motion to compel complainants LSI Corp. and Agere Systems to provide certain RAND-related discovery.  This includes information regarding LSI and Agere’s activities in standard-setting organizations, as well information about licensing and third-party products that practice the asserted patents.  This order provides some incremental guidance on the type of evidence that ALJs consider relevant to RAND-based affirmative defenses in Section 337 ITC actions.
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