Microsoft Corp. (“Microsoft”) filed a complaint in the International Trade Commission (“Commission”) against Motorola Mobility, LLC (“Motorola Mobility”), alleging that Motorola Mobility violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1337, by importing mobile phones and tablets that infringe a number of Microsoft’s patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,578,054; 6,286,762; 7,644,376; and 5,664,133. The Commission assigned the case to an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). After a hearing, the ALJ found that the accused products did not infringe any of the asserted claims of the patents at-issue. The ALJ also found that Microsoft had failed to prove that the mobile devices on which it relied actually implemented the ‘054, ‘762, and ‘376 patents and thus failed to prove the domestic-industry requirement of §§ 1337(a)(2), (3). The Commission reviewed the decision in part. It found no infringement of the patents and upheld the ALJ’s findings as to the domestic-industry requirement. Microsoft appealed.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission’s finding that Motorola Mobility’s products did not infringe the ‘054 patent and that Microsoft failed to establish a domestic industry for the ‘376 and ‘762 patents. It reversed in part the Commission’s finding that Motorola Mobility’s products did not infringe the ‘133 patent and remanded.
First, the court found no error in the ALJ’s construction of the claim term “resource state information” and affirmed the Commission’s determination that the accused products did not infringe the ‘054 patent.
Next, the court affirmed the Commission’s finding of no Section 337 violation based on the ‘376 patent. Under Section 337, the court stated that the domestic company’s substantial investments must relate to actual “articles protected by the patent”; thus, a company seeking Section 337 protection must provide evidence that its domestic investment relates to a product that practices the patent in the United States. The court stated that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s determination that Microsoft failed to meet that requirement, because Microsoft failed to identify any actual phones or tablets with the required components performing as required by the patent claims.
For similar reasons, the court affirmed the Commission’s finding of no violation based on the ‘762 patent.
Finally, the court addressed the Commission’s finding of no Section 337 violation based on the ‘133 patent. Reversing, the court found that the main group of accused products infringe, but the alternatively designed products did not. The Commission, having rejected direct infringement, did not reach the additional requirements for indirect infringement. Therefore, the court remanded for the Commission to address the effect of the infringement findings on whether there is a Section 337 violation and what remedy is appropriate.
A copy of the opinion can be found here.