On June 5, 2015, ALJ Dee Lord issued the heavily redacted public version of the Initial Determination ("ID") dated April 27, 2015 in Certain Optical Disc Drives, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-897) terminating the investigation based on Complainant's lack of standing.
By way of background, the investigation in this case is based on a September 3, 2013 complaint filed by Optical Devices, LLC ("Optical") alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain optical disc drives, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,904,007; 7,196,979; 8,416,651; RE40,927; RE42,913; and RE43,681. Seeour September 6, 2013 and October 23, 2014 posts for more details on the complaint and Notice of Investigation, respectively.
ALJ Lord issued an ID in October, 2014 terminating the Investigation due to Complainant's lack of prudential standing, determining that Optical did not hold all substantial rights to the Wild Patents or the Kadlec Patents. The Commission reviewed and remanded the Investigation on the Kadlec Patents, stating there was no evidence showing whether any party has control over how Optical assigns or licenses the Kadlec Patents. See our January 12, 2015 post for details.
Based on the Commission's opinion, ALJ Lord ordered that discovery be re-opened and requested additional briefing on the standing issue with respect to the Kadlec Patents.
Respondents alleged lack of standing with respect to the Kadlec Patents on three grounds: 1) sublicensing rights exist; 2) problems with the assignment of the Kadlec Patents to Optical; and 3) an investment agreement restricting Optical's rights in the Kadlec Patents. All details of these arguments have been redacted from the public version of the ID.
ALJ Lord held that the sublicensing rights did not deprive Optical of standing in the Kadlec Patents. However, ALJ Lord was persuaded that Optical was not an assignee of the Kadlec Patents when it filed the Complaint in this Investigation. Furthermore, ALJ Lord determined that Optical lacks standing to bring an action enforcing the Kadlec Patents without joinder of the party to the investment agreement. As such, ALJ Lord terminated the Investigation, holding that Optical lacks standing to bring an action enforcing the Kadlec Patents.