By Eric Schweibenz
On July 5, 2011, Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California (“Apple”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of Korea, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC of Richardson, Texas (collectively, “Samsung”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, sell within the U.S. after importation, and/or offer for sale within the U.S. after importation certain electronic digital media devices, including mobile phone handsets and tablet computers, and components thereof, including software, touch-pads, and hardware interfaces that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,479,949 (the ‘949 patent), RE 41,922 (the ‘922 patent), 7,863,533 (the ‘533 patent), 7,789,697 (the ‘697 patent), 7,912,501 (the ‘501 patent), D558,757 (the ‘757 patent), and D618,678 (the ‘678 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to graphical user interfaces, hardware interfaces, and ornamental designs for electronic digital media devices.  In particular, the ‘949 patent relates to a touchscreen-based device that applies heuristics to inputs, or gestures, made on its touchscreen, to determine the command that the gesture corresponds to and the resulting device behavior.  The ‘922 patent relates to the simultaneous presentation of opaque images and translucent images on a display screen.  The ‘533 patent relates to a cantilevered push button on an electronic device.  The ‘697 patent relates to a headphone interface that detects the presence of a headphone or headset plug, and alters certain functions in the device in which the assembly resides.  The ‘501 patent relates to a headphone interface that is configured to accept and operate with a headphone or headset, which contains a microphone, and to detect whether the component inserted into the jack is a headphone or headset.  Lastly, the ‘757 and ‘678 patents relate to specific ornamental design features for an electronic device, such as a communication device.

In the complaint, Apple alleges that Samsung imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to the Samsung Fascinate, Galaxy S 4G, Intercept, Transform, Captivate, and Infuse 4G as infringing mobile phone handsets.  The complaint further refers to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 as infringing tablet computers.

Regarding domestic industry, Apple states that its iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and iPod Touch practice the asserted patents.  As to the economic prong, Apple states that it researched, designed, and developed its products that practice the asserted patents in the U.S. and sells those products and provides customer support within the U.S. through its retail stores and other channels.  Apple further states that it spent more than $2.9 billion on research and development from fiscal year 2010 through the first half of 2011, of which a substantial amount is allocable to its products that practice the asserted patents.  According to the complaint, substantially all of this research and development was conducted within the U.S.  Apple further states that it spent more than $6.8 billion on sales, marketing, and distribution from fiscal year 2010 through the first half of 2011, of which a substantial amount is allocable to its products that practice the asserted patents.  Apple also specifically refers to its headquarters in Cupertino, California, its warehousing and distribution operation and customer support call center in Elk Grove, California, and its data center in Newark, California.  The complaint additionally states that Apple has made substantial investments in exploiting its patent portfolio — including the asserted patents — through its patent licensing activities.

As to related litigation, Apple states that the ‘949 patent is currently being litigated against High Tech Computer Corp. and others in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.  According to the complaint, this district court action was filed by Apple on March 2, 2010.

With respect to potential remedy, Apple requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the named Samsung entities and their affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and assigns.