On February 19, 2014, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued the public version of its opinion in Certain Wireless Devices with 3G Capabilities and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-800).
By way of background, this investigation is based on a July 26, 2011 complaint filed on behalf of InterDigital Communications, LLC, InterDigital Technology Corporation, and IPR Licensing (collectively, “InterDigital”) alleging violation of Section 337 by Respondents Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., FutureWei Technologies, Inc. d/b/a Huawei Technologies (USA), ZTE Corp., ZTE (USA) Inc., and Nokia (collectively, “Respondents”) in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain wireless devices with 3G capabilities and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of several U.S. patents. See our July 28, 2011 post for more details on the complaint.
Further, as summarized in our July 2, 2013 post, ALJ David P. Shaw issued an initial determination (“ID”) finding no violation of Section 337 based on a finding that the accused products do not infringe some claims, and although some claims in other patents were found to be infringed, these claims were determined to be invalid.
The Commission determined to review the ID in its entirety. In its September 4, 2013 notice, the Commission solicited briefing from the parties on only a single issue related to domestic industry. See our September 10, 2013 post for more details. As reported in our January 3, 2014 post, the Commission determined to affirm in part and modify in part ALJ Shaw’s ID. We now provide details of the opinion.
The opinion addresses patents related to wireless communication devices with Third Generation (“3G”) cellular capabilities and components thereof falling within one of two groups. The first group, the “Power Ramp-Up” patents, included U.S. Patent Nos. 7,706,830 (the ‘830 patent) and 8,009,636 (the ‘636 patent), generally related to the way in which a subscriber unit gains access to a cellular code division multiple access (“CDMA”) system. The second group, the “Power Control” patents, included U.S. Patent Nos. 7,502,406 (the ‘406 patent) and 7,706,332 (the ‘332 patent), generally related to automatic power control for a CDMA system.
The Power Ramp-Up Patents
ALJ Shaw’s construction of the claim term “successively sends transmissions” was challenged by InterDigital on the basis that the ALJ improperly restricted the plain meaning of the word “transmission.” According to InterDigital, “transmission” means “RF emissions” or “signals,” not “codes shorter than a regular length code,” as construed by the ALJ. The Respondents counter-argued that the ALJ’s interpretation was supported by the intrinsic evidence, expert testimony, and related recent case law. According to the opinion, the Commission agreed with Respondents, and adopted the ALJ’s construction of this term to mean “transmits to the base station, one after the other, codes that are shorter than a regular length code.”
Under this claim construction, the ALJ found that the accused products did not meet the limitation of “successively sends transmissions,” and InterDigital challenged the finding of no infringement. The Commission determined that the ALJ’s finding of no infringement was correct, but modified his reasoning to clarify the difference between short codes that do not modulate data (i.e., the codes relevant to the claim term “successively sends transmissions”) and longer codes that could modulate data. Since the accused products do not send short codes that do not modulate data, the finding of no infringement was affirmed.
The Power Control Patents
ALJ Shaw adopted the Respondents’ proposed construction of the term “power control bit” to mean “single-bit power control information transmitted at an APC data rate equivalent to the APC update rate,” although the ALJ noted that the specifications of the Power Control patents did not use this term. InterDigital challenged the ALJ’s construction, asserting that the plain and ordinary meaning “binary information relating to power control” was the correct construction. Again, the Respondents counter-argued that the ALJ’s interpretation was supported by intrinsic and extrinsic evidence.
The Commission determined that the ALJ correctly construed “power control bit” to mean “single-bit power control information,” but found that including the element “transmit at an APC data rate equivalent to the APC update rate” unduly limited the construction in a manner not warranted by the specification. However, this modification did not alter the determination that the accused products did not meet the “power control bit” limitation, and the Commission affirmed the ALJ’s determination that the accused products did not infringe the power control patents.
In addition, the Commission adopted without opinion the ALJ’s finding that additional patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 7,970,127, 7,536,013, and 7,616,970) were invalid in view of prior art.