On August 5, 2016, Rockwell Automation, Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (“Rockwell”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that 3S-Smart Software Solutions, GmbH of Germany, Advantech Corp. of Milpitas, California, and Advantech Co., Ltd. of Taiwan (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain industrial control system software, systems using same, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,675,226 (the ‘226 patent), 6,816,817 (the ‘817 patent), 6,819,960 (the ‘960 patent), 6,978,225 (the ‘225 patent), 7,130,704 (the ‘704 patent), 7,650,196 (the ‘196 patent), 7,693,585 (the ‘585 patent), and 8,799,800 (the ‘800 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to industrial control systems that employ advanced software to program, run, and visualize industrial control processes. In particular, the ‘226 patent relates to interfaces for connecting a computer to devices on multiple industrial control networks so that data may be communicated across the different industrial control networks to and from an application program running on the computer. The ‘817 and ‘225 patents relate to methods and systems for visualizing sensed parameters of networked electrical components such as motor controllers or programmable logic controllers. The ‘960 and ‘704 patents relate to a system for allowing development software to interact with an industrial controller through the use of an automation interface. The ‘196 patent relates to methods and software for human-machine interface generation systems comprising a reception component that can receive a request to generate a human-machine interface relating to industrial systems, processes, and parameters associated with the initiator of the request. The ‘585 patent relates to methods for receiving an industrial control component such as a sensor or controller, encapsulating or packaging the data as properties and methods in an object-oriented data object, and providing the data object to a data consuming device. Lastly, the ‘800 patent relates to novel methods, systems, and software for facilitating the receipt of instantiated objects from within a programmable logic controller, wherein the objects conform to a hierarchically-structured data model.

In the complaint, Rockwell states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to the CoDeSys Software Suite, Advantech WA-CU Control Series of PC-based cabinet controllers, Advantech WA-CT Control Series of PC-based panel controllers, and Advantech ADAM-5560CDS IPC as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Rockwell states that its ControlLogix controllers and PanelView human-machine interfaces and related firmware and software, and its RSLogix, Studio 5000, RSLinx, RSView, and FactoryTalk software, alone and/or together, practice at least one claim of each of the asserted patents. Rockwell further states that it is the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and that it maintains extensive U.S. research and manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Ohio. Rockwell also states that it has made extensive investments in facilities, equipment, and labor costs in the U.S. relating to its domestic industry products.

As to related litigation, Rockwell states that it is currently engaged in two litigations against 3S-Smart Software Solutions, GmbH in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, where Rockwell is alleging infringement of the asserted patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Rockwell requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents and related entities.