On August 23, 2011, ALJ Theodore R. Essex and Acting Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued Order No. 3 and Order No. 4, respectively, both denying motions filed by Respondents LG Electronics, Inc., LG Innotek Co., Ltd., LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc., and LG Innotek U.S.A., Inc (collectively “LG”) to fully consolidate Inv. Nos. 337-TA-784 and 337-TA-785. ALJ Essex’s Order No. 3 further set the target date in Certain Light Emitting Diodes and Products Containing the Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-784).
Consolidation of 784 and 785 Investigations
According to Order No. 3, Complainant OSRAM GmbH (“OSRAM”) filed two complaints on June 3, 2011 — one concerning nine patents on light-emitting diode (LED) technology against Samsung, and another concerning twelve patents on LED technology against LG. Of the nine patents asserted against Samsung, seven of those were also asserted against LG. Prior to the institution of the 784 and 785 Investigations, LG requested the Commission to fully consolidate any proceedings stemming from OSRAM’s June 3, 2011 complaints. The Commission rejected LG’s request for full consolidation, but partially consolidated the proceedings as to the overlapping patents, such that LG and Samsung are parties to the 785 Investigation with nine patents-at-issue, including the seven overlapping patents. The 784 Investigation includes only LG as Respondents and concerns the five patents that are not asserted against Samsung. See our first July 7, 2011 post and second July 7, 2011 post for more details.
Subsequent to the Commission instituting the 784 and 785 Investigations, LG filed a motion on August 2, 2011 in each of these proceedings, again requesting full consolidation of these investigations. LG argued that the two investigations involved common questions of law and fact, the same LG products appear to be at issue in both investigations, and many of the same domestic industry contentions are made by OSRAM in both investigations. According to the Order, OSRAM opposed LG’s motion, arguing that consolidation would increase the overall complexity of any consolidated investigation and could significantly delay OSRAM’s claims against LG in the 784 Investigation, which concerns patents asserted solely against LG.
In Order No. 3, ALJ Essex determined that LG’s motion raised no new arguments that were not previously considered by the Commission prior to the institution of the 784 and 785 Investigations, and he therefore found no reason to disturb the Commission’s prior ruling as to partial consolidation. ALJ Essex also determined that further consolidating investigations would likely delay resolution of OSRAM’s claims against LG, due to added complexity arising from the patents in the 784 Investigation covering different aspects of technology from the patents in the 785 Investigation. Accordingly, ALJ Essex denied LG’s motion to consolidate.
Acting Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock’s Order No. 4 in Investigation No. 337-TA-785, similarly denied LG’s consolidation motion filed in that investigation. ALJ Bullock likewise determined that LG had raised nearly identical arguments before the Commission when arguing for full consolidation and saw no reason to disturb the Commission’s prior decision. ALJ Bullock further determined that a consolidated investigation having fourteen patents and over 210 asserted claims would not simplify or expedite the investigations as asserted by LG, but rather would “complicate the discovery process and put significant strain on both the parties’ and the Commission’s resources.”
Target Date in the 784 Investigation
In Order No. 3, ALJ Essex also set November 9, 2012 as the target date for completing the 784 Investigation (which is approximately 16 months after instituting the investigation). Any final initial determination should be filed no later than July 9, 2012. In addition, ALJ Essex directed the parties to submit discovery statements and proposed procedural schedules by September 12, 2011. ALJ Essex stated the parties’ proposed schedules should account for a prehearing conference immediately followed by the evidentiary hearing, commencing on April 26, 2012, and concluding no later than May 2, 2012.