By Eric Schweibenz
On March 22, 2010, the International Trade Commission issued a notice determining to reverse a remand initial determination (“Remand ID”) issued by ALJ Carl C. Charneski on January 15, 2010, and to affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and modify-in-part a final initial determination (“ID”) issued by ALJ Charneski on September 21, 2009 in Certain Semiconductor Integration Circuits Using Tungsten Metallization and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-648).  In the notice, the Commission determined that no violation of Section 337 had occurred and terminated the investigation.

By way of background, the Complainants in this investigation are LSI Corporation and Agere Systems Inc.  The remaining Respondents in this investigation are Tower Semiconductor, Ltd. (“Tower”); Jazz Semiconductor (“Jazz”); Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation; Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation; Integrated Device Technology, Inc.; and Nanya Technology Corporation (collectively, the “Respondents”).  The investigation was instituted on May 21, 2008.

On September 21, 2009, ALJ Charneski issued the ID finding no violation of Section 337 by the Respondents.  As indicated in our November 30, 2009 post, on November 23, 2009, the Commission determined to review-in-part the ID and issued an order remanding the investigation to the ALJ for further proceedings.  Specifically, the Commission determined to review: (1) the invalidity of claims 1, 3, and 4 of the ‘335 patent with respect to IBM Process A, IBM Process B, and a specific piece of prior art (“the AMD prior art”), and (2) Jazz’s stipulation regarding whether its process met one of the steps of claim 1.  As indicated in our January 29, 2010 post, on January 15, 2010, ALJ Charneski issued a Remand ID.  In the Remand ID, ALJ Charneski determined that claim 4 was not rendered obvious by the relevant prior art.

In the notice, the Commission reversed the Remand ID, determining that claim 4 was invalid due to obviousness in view of IBM Process A in combination with other prior art.

Additionally, the Commission affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and modified-in-part the ID, determining that there was no violation of Section 337 by the Respondents.  Specifically, the Commission affirmed ALJ Charneski’s determination that claims 1 and 3 were invalid due to anticipation in view of IBM Process A.  The Commission also modified ALJ Charneski’s ruling that Jazz stipulated to the complete, third recited step of claim 1, and instead determined that Jazz’s stipulation only included a portion of the step.  The Commission took no position on ALJ Charneski’s rulings that claims 1 and 3 were not anticipated in view of IBM Process B; that claim 1 was not anticipated in view of the AMD prior art; and that claims 1, 3, and/or 4 were not obvious in view of IBM Process B or the AMD prior art.