For those of you unfamiliar with the pace of litigation at the U.S. International Trade Commission, it is fast.  Just several days ago, we were writing about the comments on the public interest submitted in Inv. No. 337-TA-794 by Apple and Samsung, the ITC Staff, and several other interested non-parties.  Late last week, Apple, Samsung, and the ITC staff each submitted responses to these initial public interest comments.

Barring unexpected additional submissions from the parties (e.g., a notice of supplemental authority citing Judge Robart’s forthcoming ruling in the Microsoft-Motorola RAND case, which may come down any day), the briefing in this important ITC case should now be all wrapped up.  Now, the waiting game begins — the Commission has until May 31 decide whether it will issue an exclusion order barring Apple products, should it find that they infringe Samsung’s (alleged) 3G UMTS-essential patent(s) (although a ruling could, of course, come before then).

A round-up of and links to the recent responsive submissions, after the jump…
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ITC LogoLast week, both Apple and Samsung filed their initial submissions in response to the U.S. International Trade Commission’s March 13 order for additional briefing in In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Table Computers (Inv. No. 337-TA-794).  In a post last Friday, we discussed the submission by the ITC’s Office of Unfair Import Investigations.  After the jump, we’ll give an overview of the positions set forth in the parties’ respective briefs.  It will not be a surprise to anyone following the smartphone wars or standard-essential patent issues that Apple and Samsung vehemently disagree over nearly everything having to do with the standard-essential patent and FRAND issues in this case.
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CAFCEarlier today we summarized the amicus brief filed by Intel in the Apple v. Motorola Federal Circuit appeal, and we noted that a number of other not-yet-publicly-available amicus briefs were also filed with the court.  Today, the amicus brief filed by Qualcomm hit the docket — and out of all of the recent amicus briefs, it’s the only one that was expressly filed in support of Motorola.

As it has consistently argued in the past, Qualcomm — a holder of a significant portfolio of SEPs — argues here that a FRAND commitment does not categorically preclude injunctive relief, and it urges the Federal Circuit to refrain from adopting such a rule.  Qualcomm also argues against the particular methodologies of calculating reasonable royalty damages for both FRAND-pledged essential patents and non-essential patents (e.g., the so-called ex ante or incremental value rules) that certain amici have advocated for.
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CAFCBack in January, we summarized a number of amicus briefs filed by a diverse group of companies and organizations concerning the issues in the Apple v. Motorola Inc. Federal Circuit appeal of Judge Posner’s decision to dismiss the parties’ respective patent infringement cases.  We noted that because the Federal Circuit extended the deadline to file amicus briefs until seven days after Motorola’s opening brief was due, more parties were certain to make their views on standard-essential patent and FRAND issues known to the court.  Sure enough, several others filed amicus briefs last week.  Yesterday, the amicus brief filed by Intel became publicly available.

As you can see from our summary below, Intel’s brief clearly supports Apple, at least with respect to Apple’s cross-appeal of the standard-essential patent issues in the case.
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If there was any doubt about the importance of standard-essential patent issues at the ITC, we can certainly put that to rest.  For the second time in a week, the Commission issued a Notice extending the target date for its Final Determination in Inv. No. 337-TA-794, the Section 337 investigation based on Samsung’s August 2011 complaint against Apple.  But unlike its last brief extension, the ITC this time extended its deadline until May 31, 2013 — and requested additional comments on the public interest and briefing from the parties on several issues.

The Commission’s particular questions (reproduced after the jump) show just how seriously the ITC is taking standard-essential patent issues.  Additionally, the content of these questions may imply that the Commission could be leaning toward a finding that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348 — a patent that Samsung has alleged is essential to the UMTS 3G cellular standard — and is now trying to decide what if any remedy it should order.


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Today was the target date for the ITC’s Final Determination in In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computers (Inv. No. 337-TA-794).  But today, the Comission issued a notice to extend the target date for completion of the investigation until next

Last week, it was reported that Apple won a decision against Samsung in Tokyo, Japan, where a judge ruled that Samsung failed to negotiate in good faith with Apple before bringing patent infringement claims over its standard-essential patents.  Until today, the court’s actual ruling was not publicly available.  But yesterday, Apple submitted a “Notice of New Facts” and a redacted copy of a translation of the Tokyo court’s decision to the U.S. International Trade Commission in ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-794, and this submission hit the ITC’s docket this morning.

Recall that the -794 case is the ITC’s investigation over Apple’s alleged infringement of several Samsung patents (including two 3G cellular standard-essential patents), and that a Final Determination by the Commission is due no later than this Thursday, March 7 — and that the issue of the propriety of issuing an exclusion order for standard-essential patent infringement has been hotly debated here.  Apple argues that the Tokyo court’s decision and factual findings “underscore that it would be against the public interest to issue an exclusionary remedy to Samsung on declared-essential patents.”


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ITC LogoWe’ve previously covered the bilateral standard-essential patent battle brewing between Ericsson and Samsung in the U.S. International Trade Commission (as well as the Eastern District of Texas).  The ITC has instituted two investigations surrounding the parties’ claims: Inv. No. 337-TA-862 (based on Ericsson’s complaint) and Inv. No. 337-TA-866 (based on Samsung’s complaint).  Yesterday, Samsung filed the public version of its Response to the Complaint and Notice of Investigation (essentially, an answer to Ericsson’s complaint) in the -862 investigation.  Below is an overview of this filing, in which (surprise!) F/RAND-related issues and defenses have a starring role.
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Later this year, in the case of Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc. (Nos. 2012-1548, -1549), the Federal Circuit is set to address several issues that could have a big effect on future licensing and assertion of standard-essential patents.  As explained in our previous post “catching up on” the details of this dispute, this appeal follows Judge Posner’s dismissal of both Apple’s and Motorola’s dueling infringement claims, which was based on the parties’ failure to prove entitlement to the remedies sought.  Because Motorola had asserted a FRAND-encumbered standard-essential patent against Apple’s UMTS-compliant products, the Federal Circuit is likely to decide at least two issues that may have widespread implications for SEP licensing and litigation for years to come: (1) whether injunctive relief may be an appropriate remedy for Apple’s alleged infringement of Motorola’s FRAND-pledged SEPs; and (2) how to calculate damages for Apple’s alleged infringement of Motorola’s FRAND-pledged SEPs.
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Early in January we noted that a non-practicing entity named Steelhead Licensing had filed a number of complaints for patent infringement against various wireless device manufacturers and cellular carriers.  Of particular note in those suits was that the patent at issue in all of the actions — U.S. Pat. No. 5,491,834, entitled “Mobile Radio Handover Initiation Determination” — was previously owned by British Telecom, is due to expire next month, and (according to Steelhead, apparently) is essential to various 3G and 4G wireless communications standards.  On Friday, January 11, Steelhead expanded its assertion activities relating to the ‘834 patent, filing infringement actions against Acer, Amazon.com, Asustek, and Dell.
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