On April 28, 2017, Carl Zeiss AG of Germany (“Zeiss”) and ASML Netherlands B.V. of the Netherlands (collectively, “Complainants”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Nikon Corp. of Japan, Sendai Nikon Corp. of Japan, Nikon Inc. of Melville, New York, Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd. of Thailand, Nikon Imaging (China) Co., Ltd. of China, and PT Nikon Indonesia of Indonesia (collectively, “Nikon”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain digital cameras, software, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,301,440 (the ’440 patent), 6,463,163 (the ’163 patent), 6,714,241 (the ’241 patent), 6,731,335 (the ’335 patent), 6,834,128 (the ’128 patent), 7,297,916 (the ’916 patent), and 7,933,454 (the ’454 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to digital camera technology. In particular, the ’440 patent relates to an image-acquisition device with a photographic “expert unit” that analyzes a scene to be photographed and simulates the actions of an expert photographer by automatically setting image-acquisition controls of the camera in accordance with several parameters. The ’163 patent relates to “target pattern” recognition, e.g., face detection, in digital imaging. The ’241 patent relates to reusing a “dark frame” for more efficient dark current subtraction for an image frame. The ’335 patent relates to a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor and a method for driving a pixel array on such a sensor. The ’128 patent relates to an imaging system that creates an image mosaic, such as a panorama image, by stitching together multiple digital image frames. The ’916 patent relates to an image sensor die which may be used in a digital camera. Lastly, the ’454 patent relates to an image-enhancement model that takes into account, for example, portraits or outdoor scenes as semantic content for image enhancement.

In the complaint, Complainants state that Nikon imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to various Nikon digital cameras and related software and components as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Complainants state that a domestic industry is in the process of being established in the U.S. with respect to the asserted patents. According to the complaint, beginning in July 2014, Zeiss retained contractors in the U.S. who began performing engineering, research, and development relating to digital imaging solutions that practice claims of the asserted patents. Complainants state that Zeiss has worked diligently and continuously since 2014 to develop its technology in the U.S., and that Zeiss’s work has progressed substantially towards completion.

As to related litigation, Complainants state that, concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, they also filed a complaint against some of the Nikon proposed respondents in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging infringement of the asserted patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Complainants request that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at Nikon.