On February 26, 2015, Ericsson Inc. of Plano, Texas and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson of Sweden (collectively, "Ericsson") filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that Apple Inc. a/k/a Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, California ("Apple") unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and/or sells within the U.S. after importation certain wireless standard compliant electronic devices, including communication devices and tablet computers that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,717,996 (the '996 patent), 8,660,270 (the '270 patent), 6,058,359 (the '359 patent), 6,301,556 (the '556 patent), 8,102,805 (the '805 patent), 8,607,130 (the '130 patent), 8,837,381 (the '381 patent), and 8,331,476 (the '476 patent) (collectively, the "asserted patents").
According to the complaint, the asserted patents are essential to either the 2G GSM or 4G LTE standards. In particular, the '996 patent relates to an improved technique for allowing a user's cellular device to rapidly establish communication with a cellular network when being powered on, recovering from an error, or moving into a new area. The '270 patent relates to a method and system for establishing a security key used for encrypting and decrypting the data transferred between user equipment and a network node. The '359 patent relates to a technique for improving the quality of decoded speech signals transmitted over a wireless network. The '556 patent relates to a technique for improving the quality of a speech signal received at a mobile device by reducing sparseness in a coded speech signal. The '805 patent relates to a technique for a base station and a user's cellular device to talk to each other in a situation where there has been an error during an initial reception of data by the cellular device and that data must be retransmitted. The '130 patent relates to an efficient technique for a base station and a mobile device to communicate with each other in such a way as to deal with the possibility of errors in the communication system. The '381 patent relates to an efficient technique for reporting information about the quality of a channel from a handset to a base station. Lastly, the '476 patent relates to a method performed by a user terminal capable of receiving data from a base station on a broadcast channel and using that data to determine what transmission mode was used by the base station to transmit that data.
In the complaint, Ericsson states that Apple imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to the Apple iPhone and iPad as infringing products.
Regarding domestic industry, Ericsson states that it has made significant investments in plant and equipment and a significant employment of labor and capital in the U.S. with respect to articles protected by the asserted patents. Ericsson specifically refers to relevant U.S. facilities in Texas, Washington, Georgia, and California. In addition, Ericsson refers to its substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents through its licensing activities in the U.S, including patent portfolio analysis, monitoring the market, financial and technical analysis, patent infringement analysis and documentation, negotiations with prospective licensees, and litigation activities related to unwilling licensees. Ericsson further states on information and belief that at least some of its licensees have made a significant investment in plant and equipment and/or have engaged in a significant employment of labor or capital and/or have made a substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents in the U.S.
As to related litigation, Ericsson states that, concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, it also expects to file an action against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging infringement of the asserted patents. Ericsson further states that the '359 and '556 patents were previously at issue at the ITC in Inv. No. 337-TA-862 and in a parallel district court action. See our January 7, 2013 post for more details on the 862 investigation. Lastly, Ericsson states that the '359 and '556 patents are currently being asserted against TCL Communication Technology Holdings, Ltd. and others in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
With respect to potential remedy, Ericsson requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at Apple.