On August 10, 2011, Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan and ITRI International Inc. of San Jose, California (collectively, “ITRI”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that LG Corporation of South Korea, LG Electronics, Inc. of South Korea, and LG Electronics, U.S.A., Inc. of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey (collectively, “LG”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain devices for improving uniformity used in a backlight module and products containing same, including display devices, such as digital televisions and monitors and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,883,932 (the ‘932 patent).

According to the complaint, the ‘932 patent generally relates to an apparatus for improving the uniformity of light in a backlight module.  The complaint explains that it is important that the backlights used for liquid crystal displays (“LCDs”) produce light uniformly across the LCD display region so that images may be rendered using the correct amount of brightness.  According to the complaint, the ‘932 patent describes a housing for the light sources which reflects the light from the backlights’ light sources.  Further, the ‘932 patent describes structured arc sheets which improve the uniformity of light displayed on an LCD monitor or display.

In the complaint, ITRI states that LG imports and sells products that infringe the ‘932 patent.  The complaint specifically names the LG “LW,” “LV,” “LH,” “LX,” “LE,” and “LD” families of displays as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, ITRI states that its licensee Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and related entities (collectively, “Samsung”) practice the ‘932 patent in the U.S.  According to the complaint, Samsung conducts significant activities relating to products that practice the ‘932 patent in the U.S., including providing domestic support for LCD displays, LCD monitors and LCD televisions.  ITRI states that the Commission has previously found that Samsung’s significant U.S. investments in customer support constitute a significant employment of labor and capital, citing an Initial Determination in Inv. No. 337-TA-631.  ITRI also cites to Samsung’s June 1, 2011 verified complaint in Inv. No. 337-TA-782 (see our June 2, 2011 post for more details) as providing additional support for its domestic industry allegations.

As to related litigation, ITRI states that on November 26, 2010, it asserted the ‘932 patent  and 14 other patents related to displays against LG in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  According to the complaint, that district court case is still pending.  Additionally, ITRI states that on October 19, 2009, it asserted the ‘932 patent and 14 other patents related to displays against Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.  According to the complaint, that case was settled pursuant to an agreement between the parties with an effective date of May 1, 2010.

With respect to potential remedy, ITRI requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at LG and related companies.