By Eric Schweibenz
On March 21, 2011, Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington (“Microsoft”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain handheld electronic computing devices, related software, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,778,372 (the ‘372 patent), 5,889,522 (the ‘522 patent), 6,339,780 (the ‘780 patent), 6,891,551 (the ‘551 patent), and 6,957,233 (the ‘233 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Barnes & Noble, Inc. of New York, New York

  • barnesandnoble.com LLC of New York, New York

  • Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. of Taiwan

  • Foxconn Electronics, Inc. of Taiwan

  • Foxconn Precision Component (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. of China

  • Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong

  • Inventec Corporation of Taiwan

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to functions performed by electronic devices.  In particular, the ‘372 patent describes playing a portion of a document’s content prior to receiving a background image.  The ‘522 patent provides an application window and an associated control window that includes a tabbed display of application parameters.  The ‘780 patent describes a graphic element that is displayed to indicate loading of content in a hypermedia browser with a content display area.  The ‘551 patent is directed to selecting text within an electronic document.  Finally, the ‘233 patent provides for capturing annotations made in an electronic document, such as an electronic book, without changing the electronic document.

In the complaint, Microsoft states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically names the Barnes & Noble Nook and Nook Color — and related software loaded onto these devices — as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Microsoft states that it has made significant investments in plant and equipment and labor and capital in the U.S. in connection with the development and production of the Windows Phone 7 operating system and software products, which allegedly practice one or more claims of the ‘372, ‘522, ‘780, and ‘551 patents.  Additionally, Microsoft states that its licensee Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) practices at least one claim of the ‘233 patent in the U.S. in connection with Amazon’s Kindle handheld electronic computing device.  Microsoft further states, on information and belief, that Amazon has made significant investments in plant and equipment and labor and capital in the U.S. relating to the development and production of the Kindle.

As to related litigation, Microsoft states that it asserted the ‘780 patent against Motorola Mobility, Inc. by way of a patent infringement counterclaim in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

With respect to potential remedy, Microsoft requests that the Commission issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.