15
Feb
By Eric Schweibenz
On February 12, 2010, the International Trade Commission issued a notice determining that there has been no violation of Section 337 in Certain Refrigerators and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-632).

By way of background, the Complainants in this investigation were Whirlpool Corp., Whirlpool Manufacturing Corp., Whirlpool Patents Co., and Maytag Corp. (collectively, “Whirlpool”) and the Respondents were LG Electronics Corp., Inc., LG Electronics, USA, Inc., and LG Electronics Monterrey, Mexico S.A. de C.V. (collectively, “LG”).  The investigation was instituted on February 26, 2008.  On February 26, 2009, ALJ Theodore R. Essex issued the initial determination, finding no violation of Section 337 with respect to United States Patent No. 6,082,130 (the ‘130 patent).  On April 27, 2009, the Commission decided to review the ID in its entirety and requested briefing by the parties on the issue of claim construction.  In its July 8, 2009 opinion, the Commission (i) modified the ID’s claim construction for the terms “freezer compartment,” “disposed within the freezer department,” and “ice storage bin having a bottom opening,” (ii) affirmed the ID’s construction of the term “ice maker,” and (iii) determined to remand the investigation to the ALJ to make findings regarding infringement, validity, and domestic industry consistent with the Commission’s claim constructions.  See our July 8, 2009  post for more details.  On July 22, 2009, LG filed a petition for reconsideration of the Commission’s decision to modify the ALJ’s claim constructions of the phrases “freezer compartment” and “disposed within the freezer compartment.”  On August 28, 2009, the Commission denied LG’s petition.  See our September 1, 2009 post for more details.  On October 9, 2009, ALJ Essex issued his initial determination on remand (“RID”), finding no violation of Section 337.  Specifically, in the RID, ALJ Essex determined (1) that the accused refrigerators and components thereof do not infringe the asserted claims of the ‘130 patent literally or under the doctrine of equivalents; (2) that claims 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9 of the ‘130 patent are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103 for obviousness, but that claim 8 of the ‘130 patent is not invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103; and (3) a domestic industry exists.  On December 14, 2009, the Commission issued a notice determining to review the RID.  See our December 16, 2009 post for more details.

In the February 12 notice, the Commission “determined to affirm the RID’s determination of no violation of the ‘130 patent” and terminated the investigation.  Specifically, the Commission determined to (1) “modify the ALJ’s implied construction of the claim limitations ‘the auger moves ice pieces from the ice storage bin through the bottom opening for dispensing from the ice storage bin’ and ‘ice crushing region,’” (2) “reverse a portion of the ALJ’s determination of non-infringement and find that the accused side-by-side models infringe claims 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9 of the ‘130 patent,” (3) “affirm[ ] the ALJ’s finding that the accused side-by-side model refrigerators do not infringe claim 8 of the ‘130 patent,” (4) “affirm[ ] the ALJ’s finding that the accused French Door model refrigerators do not infringe any of the asserted claims of the ‘130 patent,” (5) “affirm[ ] the ALJ’s finding that claims 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9 of the ‘130 patent are invalid for obviousness with several modifications to the analysis concerning claims 1 and 2,” (6) affirm[ ] the ALJ’s finding that claim 8 is not invalid for obviousness,” and (7) affirm[ ] the ALJ’s finding that there is a domestic industry.”
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