On May 5, 2016, Immersion Corporation of San Jose, California (“Immersion”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California, AT&T Inc. of Dallas, Texas, and AT&T Mobility LLC of Atlanta, Georgia (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain mobile and portable electronic devices incorporating pressure-enabled haptic feedback technology—including smartphones and laptops—that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,749,507 (the ‘507 patent), 7,808,488 (the ‘488 patent), 7,336,260 (the ‘260 patent) and 8,581,710 (the ‘710 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to apparatus for, and methods of, implementing pressure-enabled haptics to enhance the user experience on electronic devices. In particular, the ‘507 patent generally relates to systems and methods in which the mobile electronic device determines a pressure and a change in pressure based on contact data. The ‘488 patent relates to systems and methods for generating an actuator signal to output a haptic effect based on the user’s interaction with a graphical object on a touchscreen. The ‘260 patent generally relates to systems in which the electronic device detects different levels of pressure on the device and providing a tactile sensation in response. Lastly, the ‘710 patent generally relates to systems and methods for generating an actuator signal to output a haptic effect indicating whether the user’s input is recognized or unrecognized and that a corresponding command was (or was not) found.

As to the allegedly infringing products, the complaint identifies smartphones sold under the tradenames Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus, and laptops sold under the tradenames Apple MacBook and Apple MacBook Pro. Immersion alleges that Apple manufactures the above-mentioned products outside of the United States, imports the same into the United States, which are then sold to carriers, retailers, and/or end users. The complaint alleges that the AT&T respondents sell for importation, import, and/or offer for sale and sell after importation Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus smartphones.

Regarding domestic industry, Immersion states that it researches, develops, designs, engineers, demonstrates, commercializes, and tests a number of software products that implement advanced haptics in mobile electronic devices, and partners with electronic device manufacturers to integrate Immersion’s software and innovations into the manufacturer’s devices that practice at least one claim of each asserted patent. Immersion further states that it has historically made, and continues to make, significant United States investments in engineering, research and development, design, testing, and commercialization of Immersion’s patented technologies that relate to and practice the patents-in-suit, including significant labor, lease, and other expenses relevant to the exploitation of the asserted patents.

As to related litigation, Immersion states that there has been no litigation involving the asserted patents, but that it is currently a party to two proceedings against the Proposed Respondents involving other patents; Inv. No. 337-TA-990 and Immersion Corp. v. Apple Inc., et al. (pending in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware).

With respect to potential remedy, Immersion requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents.