On July 25, 2012, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued a notice determining to terminate the investigation with a finding of no violation of Section 337 in Certain Semiconductor Chips and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-753).
By way of background, the Complainant in this investigation is Rambus Inc. of Sunnyvale, California (“Rambus”). Rambus accused respondents of infringing certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,470,405, 6,591,353, and 7,287,109 (collectively, “the Barth patents”), and Nos. 7,602,857 and 7,715,494 (collectively, “the Dally patents”). Although the Notice of Investigation named numerous respondents, many were terminated due to settlement. In particular, Mediatek Inc., Audio Partnership PLC, and Oppo Digital, Inc. settled with Rambus following the ALJ’s issuance of the ID. The two remaining respondents are LSI Corporation of Milpitas, California (“LSI”) and STMicroelectronics N.V. of Switzerland and STMicroelectronics Inc. of Carrollton, Texas (collectively, “STMicro”). With LSI and STMicro as respondents are seven of their customers. On March 2, 2012, ALJ Theodore R. Essex issued the Final Initial Determination (“ID”) finding no violation of Section 337 because all of the asserted claims were found to be invalid or obvious in view of certain prior art under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103. The Barth patents were found to be unenforceable under the doctrine of unclean hands by virtue of Rambus’s destruction of documents. The ID also found that Rambus had exhausted its rights under the Barth patents as to certain products of one respondent. The ID found that all of the asserted patent claims were infringed, and rejected numerous affirmative defenses raised by the respondents. See our March 7, 2012 post for more details. On May 3, 2012, the Commission issued a notice determining to review the ID. See our May 7, 2012 post for more details.
According to the July 25 notice, the Commission determined to find no violation of Section 337 for the following reasons:
We affirm the ALJ’s conclusion that all of the asserted patent claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 102 or 103, except for the asserted Dally multiple-transmitter claims (‘857 claims 11-13, 32-34, 50-52), for which we find that Rambus has not demonstrated infringement. We reverse the ALJ’s determination that Rambus has demonstrated the existence of a domestic industry under 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a) for both the Barth patents and Dally patents. We affirm the ALJ’s determination that the Barth patents are unenforceable under the doctrine of unclean hands. We affirm the ALJ’s finding of exhaustion of the Barth patents as to one respondent. The Commission’s determinations, including non-dispositive findings not recited above, will be set forth more fully in the Commission’s opinion.