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Nov
By Eric Schweibenz
On November 23, 2009, the International Trade Commission issued a notice determining to review in part the final Initial Determination (“ID”) issued by ALJ Theodore R. Essex on September 22, 2009 in Certain Automotive Multimedia Display and Navigation Systems, Components Thereof, and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-657).

By way of background, the Complainant in this investigation is Honeywell International, Inc. (“Honeywell”).  The original Respondents were Alpine Electronics, Inc.; Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.; Denso Corporation; Denso International America, Inc.; Pioneer Corp.; Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.; Kenwood Corp.; and Kenwood USA Corp.  However, all of the Respondents other than Pioneer Corp. and Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. (collectively, “Pioneer”) were terminated from the investigation before the issuance of the ID as a result of settlement agreements with Honeywell.

ALJ Essex issued the ID in this investigation on September 22, 2009, finding no violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S., the sale for importation, or the sale within the U.S. after importation of certain automotive multimedia display and navigation systems, components thereof, and products containing same.  According to the ID, ALJ Essex held that Pioneer did not infringe the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,308,132 (the ‘132 patent); 5,923,286 (the ‘286 patent); 6,664,945 (the ‘945 patent); and 6,289,277 (the ‘277 patent).  Further, ALJ Essex held that many of the asserted claims were invalid for various reasons including anticipation, indefiniteness, failure to satisfy the best mode requirement, the public use bar, and the on-sale bar.  Finally, ALJ Essex found that a domestic industry existed for all four asserted patents based on Honeywell’s licensing activities.  See our November 4 post for more details.

On October 5, 2009, Honeywell filed a petition for review of the ID and Pioneer filed a contingent petition for review of the ID.  On October 13, 2009, Honeywell and Pioneer filed responses to each other’s petition, and the Commission Investigative Staff filed a response to Honeywell’s petition.

After examining the record of the investigation, including the ID, the petitions for review, and the responses to the petitions for review, the Commission decided to review the ID in part.  In particular, the Commission determined to review:  (i) the construction of the ‘286 patent’s claim terms “inertial reference system,” and “based upon the IRS position signal, the velocity of the vehicle and the acceleration of the vehicle”; (ii) the construction of the ‘945 patent’s claim terms “radio select means,” “selectable alphanumeric text portion,” “selectable frequency tuning portion,” and “storage select means”; (iii) the finding that the asserted claims of the ‘132 patent are anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) by U.S. Patent No. 6,092,076 to McDonough; (iv) the finding that claim 5 of the ‘286 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 1, for failure to disclose the best mode; (v) the finding that claim 5 of the ‘286 is not infringed by the accused products; (vi) the finding that claim 1 of the ‘945 patent is not anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102 by the Alpine CVA-1000 system, U.S. Patent No. 6,725,231 to Obradovich, or U.S. Patent No. 7,398,051 to Bates; (vii) the finding that the accused products do not infringe claim 1 of the ‘945 patent; (viii) the finding that the accused products do not infringe the asserted claims of the ‘277 patent; (ix) the finding that claim 9 of the ‘277 patent is anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) by the 1998 Lexus GS 400; and (x) the finding that claim 9 of the ‘277 patent is not invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) over the 1998 Lexus GS 400, in view of U.S. Patent No. 6,725,231 to Obradovich, the 1997 VICS instruction manual, or the Xanavi manual.

According to the notice, the Commission determined “to review and to take no position on whether the asserted claims of the ‘132 patent are invalid because of an on-sale bar under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b)” and further “determined not to review the remainder of the ID.”

Additionally, the notice requests briefing on five questions of particular interest to the Commission.

The parties’ briefs to the Commission are due by December 7, 2009, with reply submissions due by December 14, 2009.
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