On September 23, 2013, ALJ E. James Gildea issued Order No. 30 denying Respondents Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc.’s (collectively, “Toshiba”) motion seeking a protective order in Certain Consumer Electronics With Display and Processing Capabilities (Inv. No. 337-TA-884).

By way of background, the Commission instituted this investigation on June 20, 2013 based on a complaint filed by Graphics Properties Holdings, Inc. (“GPH”) alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain consumer electronics with display and processing capabilities that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,650,327, 8,144,158 and/or 5,717,881.  See our May 21, 2013 and June 24, 2013 posts for more details on the complaint and notice of investigation, respectively.

According to the Order, Toshiba argued that the language defining the scope of the investigation is ambiguous, and that GPH’s interpretation, which includes products that do not have an embedded display, is unreasonable.  Respondents Panasonic Corporation and Panasonic Corporation of North America (collectively, “Panasonic”) joined in the motion.  GPH opposed the motion and joinder on the grounds that the movants’ real intent is to delay discovery, that the Notice of Investigation “(NOI”) uses plain English in defining the scope of the investigation, that Toshiba and Panasonic never sought to limit the scope of the investigation prior to or immediately after institution, that the asserted patents are not limited to integrated displays, and that GPH provided “guidepost” categories of products to clarify the specific discovery it was pursuing.  The Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) also opposed the motion on similar grounds.

ALJ Gildea agreed with GPH and OUII that the language used by the Commission in the NOI is not ambiguous, and that the movants’ interpretation of that language (“certain consumer electronics with display and processing capabilities”) as limited to products with embedded or integrated displays is unwarranted.  Accordingly, the motion was denied.