ITC Issues Public Version of Opinion In Certain Mobile Telephones And Wireless Communication Devices Featuring Digital Cameras (337-TA-703)
Further to our July 23, 2012 post, on August 10, 2012, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued the public version of its opinion finding no violation of Section 337 in Certain Mobile Telephones and Wireless Communication Devices Featuring Digital Cameras, and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-703).
By way of background, the Complainant in this investigation is Eastman Kodak Company (“Kodak”). The Respondents are Apple Inc. (“Apple”) and Research in Motion, Ltd. and Research in Motion Corp. (collectively, “RIM”). On January 24, 2011, former Chief ALJ Paul J. Luckern issued an Initial Determination (“ID”) finding no violation of Section 337. See our March 18, 2011 post for more details. On June 30, 2011, the Commission issued a notice determining to affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand-in-part the ID. See our July 6, 2011 and August 8, 2011 posts for more details. After remand, the investigation was reassigned to ALJ Pender. On May 21, 2012, ALJ Pender issued a Remand Initial Determination (“RID”) finding no violation of Section 337. Specifically, ALJ Pender determined that the Apple iPhone 3G and the accused RIM products infringed claim 15 of U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 (the ‘218 patent) and that the accused Apple iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 did not infringe claim 15 of the ‘218 patent under the doctrine of equivalents. In addition, ALJ Pender determined that claim 15 of the ‘218 patent was invalid for obviousness in view of a Japanese patent application to Mori (“Mori”) and a U.S. patent to Parulski (“Parulski”). See our July 2, 2012 post for more details. Kodak, Apple, RIM, and the Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) each filed petitions for review of various portions of ALJ Pender’s RID. OUII, Apple, and RIM filed responses to Kodak’s petition. OUII and Kodak filed responses to Apple’s and RIM’s petitions.
After considering the ID, RID, and the parties’ briefing, the Commission determined to review the RID in-part. Specifically, the Commission determined to review ALJ Pender’s finding of infringement by the accused RIM products and the Apple iPhone 3G. The Commission also determined to review ALJ Pender’s finding that claim 15 is invalid as obvious in view of Mori and Parulski.
The ‘218 patent is directed to a digital camera with an LCD screen that enables images to be previewed in real time. Claim 15 of the ‘218 patent, the sole claim at issue in this investigation, recites such a camera, generally comprising of an image sensor, a motion processor, a color display, a capture button, a still processor, and a digital memory.
The Commission’s analysis as to infringement focused on its previous claim construction finding that the two processors recited in claim 15, the motion processor and the still processor, could share circuitry but could not have total overlap.
Regarding RIM’s accused devices, ALJ Pender previously determined that although these accused products’ processors shared some circuitry, they were in-fact distinct. Although the Commission disagreed with the ALJ’s analysis as to the distinctness of certain components, overall, it affirmed ALJ Pender’s finding of infringement, determining that even though some components of the RIM products’ processors were shared, each included enough unique components so as to be sufficiently distinct for purposes of claim 15.
Similarly, as to the accused Apple iPhone 3G, ALJ Pender determined that the iPhone 3G’s motion processor and still processor shared some circuitry, but, for purposes of claim 15, were distinct. The Commission affirmed this finding, determining that even though some components of the iPhone 3G’s processors were shared, each included enough unique components so as to be sufficiently distinct. Thus, the Apple iPhone 3G infringed claim 15.
As to invalidity, in the RID, ALJ Pender determined that claim 15 was rendered obvious by Mori in view of Parulski, finding no objective indicia of nonobviousness. Though it ultimately agreed with ALJ Pender’s finding of invalidity, the Commission disagreed with the ALJ’s determination as to the existence of objective indicia of nonobviousness. Specifically, ALJ Pender reasoned in the RID that no such indicia need be substantively considered because Kodak had not established a sufficient nexus between the ‘218 patent and its licensing program. The Commission reversed this analysis, finding that Kodak did in fact show the required nexus, but ultimately determining that even with the objective indicia in mind, claim 15 was obvious for the reasons set forth in the ID and RID.
Having affirmed ALJ Pender’s determination that claim 15 is invalid for obviousness, the Commission also upheld ALJ Pender’s ultimate finding of no violation of Section 337, and terminated the investigation.