Further to our February 3, 2014 post, on March 6, 2014, ALJ David P. Shaw issued the public version of the Initial Determination (“ID”) in Certain Compact Fluorescent Reflector Lamps, Products Containing Same and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-872).
By way of background, the investigation is based on a complaint filed by Andrzej Bobel and Neptun Light, Inc. (collectively, “Neptun”) alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain compact fluorescent reflector lamps (“reflector CFLs”) and products and components containing same that infringe claims 1, 2, 10, and 11 of U.S. Patent No. 7,053,540 (the ‘540 patent). Seeour January 30, 2013 and March 1, 2013 posts for more details on Neptun’s complaint and the Notice of Investigation, respectively. In Order No. 20, ALJ Shaw terminated the investigation as to Respondent Technical Consumer Products, Inc. based on a settlement agreement. Accordingly, Maxlite, Inc. (“Maxlite”); Satco Prodcust, Inc. (“Satco”); and Litetronics International, Inc. (“Litetronics”) (collectively, “Respondents”) remained as respondents to the investigation.
As an initial matter, ALJ Shaw construed eleven disputed claims terms. ALJ Shaw agreed with Neptun’s proposed constructions for all the disputed claim terms. Of the eleven disputed claim terms, ALJ Shaw held that seven of the terms required no construction and should take on their plain and ordinary meaning. ALJ Shaw determined that the term “a mating opening” should be construed to mean “an area in which a portion of the light source base (i.e., the portion through which the light source is inserted) is located.” Additionally, ALJ Shaw held that the term “light source base” should be construed to mean “base through which the light source is inserted.” Regarding the terms “said base having a first locking means” and “said ballast housing having a second locking means,” ALJ Shaw determined that section 112, sixth paragraph does not apply. Accordingly, ALJ Shaw construed both claim terms to mean “portion of a lock system used to create a lock between the light source base and the housing.”
Regarding infringement, ALJ Shaw determined that Respondents’ accused products infringe asserted claims 1, 2, 10, and 11. As to independent claim 1, ALJ Shaw conducted an element-by-element analysis of the claim, finding that Respondents’ accused products satisfy every claim feature. Even under Respondents’ proposed claim constructions, ALJ Shaw held that the accused products would meet each claim limitation under the doctrine of equivalents. Respondents did not contest that the accused products satisfied the limitations of the dependent claims. Accordingly, ALJ Shaw held that: Respondents’ accused products infringed dependent claim 2, Litetronics’ accused products infringe dependent claim 10, and Maxlite’s and Satco’s accused products infringe dependent claim 11.
As to technical prong of the domestic industry requirement, ALJ Shaw determined that Neptun’s PAR products practice the asserted claims of the ‘540 patent and, therefore, the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement was satisfied as to all asserted claims of the ‘540 patent.
Regarding the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement, ALJ Shaw held that Neptun demonstrated that it satisfied the domestic industry requirement under 337(a)(3)(A) and (B), but not under 337(a)(3)(C). Specifically, ALJ Shaw determined that Neptun made significant investments with respect to its PAR CFL business in: (A) plant and equipment, and (B) labor and capital. However, ALJ Shaw held that Neptun failed to demonstrate specific investments in licensing activities.
Respondents did not address the issue of invalidity in their post-hearing briefs and, therefore, ALJ Shaw declined to make any findings as to the invalidity of the asserted claims in light of the prior art.
Remedy and Bond
ALJ Shaw recommended that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order against all accused products found to infringe the asserted claims of the ‘540 patent. ALJ Shaw denied Neptun’s request for a cease and desist order because Neptun failed to present any evidence that Respondents maintained commercially significant inventories of the accused products in the United States. Regarding bond, ALJ Shaw recommended that Respondents should be required to post a bond of 100% of the entered value of the products subject to any limited exclusion order.