By Alex Gasser
On February 4, 2011, LG Electronics, Inc. of South Korea (“LG”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Sony Corporation of Japan, Sony Corporation of America of New York, New York, and Sony Electronics, Inc. of San Diego, California (collectively, “Sony”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain digital televisions and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,785,906 (the ‘906 patent), RE 37,326 (the ‘326 patent), 5,533,071 (the ‘071 patent), and 5,923,711 (the ‘711 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to digital television technology.  In particular, the ‘906 patent relates to a web television, i.e., a television capable of processing internet content.  The ‘326 patent relates to an improved high definition television receiver apparatus capable of demodulating and processing VSB-modulated television signals.  The ‘071 patent relates to a circuit for error-correcting a received complex data signal.  Finally, the ‘711 patent relates to a data processor for receiving and processing a signal having multi-level symbols.

In the complaint, LG alleges that Sony imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically names Sony’s Bravia line of television models, including the KDL-46HX800 and KDL-32EX500, as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, LG states that it sells digital televisions within the U.S. that practice at least one claim of each of the asserted patents.  By way of example, LG names its 42LE5500 digital television as a product that practices the claimed inventions.  With respect to the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement, LG states that it has made and continues to make significant investments in plant facilities and equipment within the U.S. in connection with the service and engineering of products covered by the asserted patents.  LG specifically refers to its facilities in Huntsville, Alabama and Rancho Cucamonga, California as facilities that are involved with products covered by the asserted patents.

 As to related litigation, LG states that on June 5, 2009, Vizio, Inc. (“Vizio”) filed a complaint against LG in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland alleging infringement of seven patents, and that LG asserted two of its own patents, one of which was the ‘326 patent, in counterclaims against Vizio.  LG further states that on July 16, 2010, Vizio filed an ITC complaint against LG asserting infringement of the same seven patents that had been previously asserted in the Maryland litigation.  The Commission instituted Investigation No. 337-TA-733 on August 13, 2010, based on Vizio’s complaint.  See our August 16, 2010 post for more details.  On September 15, 2010, LG filed an ITC complaint against Vizio, AmTran Technology Co., Ltd. and AmTran Logistics, Inc., asserting infringement of the ‘906 patent, among others.  The Commission subsequently instituted Investigation No. 337-TA-742 on October 12, 2010, based on LG’s complaint.  See our October 14, 2010 post for more details.  LG later amended its complaint to include an allegation of infringement of the ‘326 patent.  On November 1, 2010, LG and Vizio jointly moved to stay the Maryland litigation pending the resolution of ITC Inv Nos. 337-TA-733 and 337-TA-742.  Joint motions for termination were filed on January 18, 2011, in both of these investigations based on a settlement and license agreement between LG and Vizio.  Both of these joint motions have now been granted.  See our January 27, 2011 and January 28, 2011 posts for more details.

With respect to potential remedy, LG requests that the Commission issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Sony.