By Alex Gasser
On May 6, 2011, Linex Technologies, Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (“Linex”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Hewlett-Packard Company of Palo Alto, California; Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California; Aruba Networks, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California; Meru Networks of Sunnyvale, California; and Ruckus Wireless of Sunnyvale, California (collectively, “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain wireless communication devices and systems, components thereof, and products containing same that infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 6,757,322 (the ‘322 patent), and/or RE42,219 (the ‘219 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents relate to products receiving transmissions complying with an IEEE 802.11n wireless communication standard, and which further support “multiple input, multiple output” (MIMO) modes that bolster signal strength that otherwise scatter or fade as signals travel through a multipath environment.  The asserted patents are related to one another, and they both relate to techniques that first split data into two or more parallel streams prior to transmission and then recombine (multiplex) the transmitted data at the receiver.  Additionally, the asserted patents relate to the transmission of parallel data streams together with spread spectrum processing that purportedly yield a transmitted signal highly resistant to fading and multipath distortion.  The technique employs unique codes within each of the parallel data streams that enable each receiver to distinguish and separate the streams, so that the receiver can appropriately combine the signals at the different receiver antennas, thereby increasing the signal-to-noise ratio and attaining higher data rates and/or increased ranges of operation.

The complaint alleges that each of the Proposed Respondents manufactures, imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and/or sells within the U.S. after importation various identified laptop and/or access point products that infringe one or both asserted patents, and that each respondent actively induces infringement of the asserted patents by designing their products to be capable of infringing those claims and by promoting and encouraging infringing uses of their products.

As to related litigation, the complaint alleges that on May 6, 2011, Linex filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware alleging infringement of both the ‘322 patent and the ‘219 patent, and the named defendants in that litigation are the same Proposed Respondents named in this investigation.   The complaint additionally identifies an action commenced by Linex on June 1, 2007, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging infringement of the ‘322 patent.  However, none of the named defendants in that Texas action are Proposed Respondents in this investigation, and all defendants and claims in the Texas litigation have been dismissed.

Regarding domestic industry, the complaint asserts that Linex invested substantial resources in developing licensing strategies and actively licensing its MIMO technology portfolio, which includes the asserted patents, as well as negotiating licenses specifically for the ‘322 patent and U.S. Patent No. 7,068,705, (the ‘705 patent) from which the ‘219 patent reissued.  Linex alleges it has incurred substantial personnel labor costs and personnel expenses relating to licensing the asserted patents.  Linex further asserts significant expenditures for the purchase of potentially infringing products and other materials to determine infringement of the asserted patents, as well as retaining outside intellectual property counsel to support the effectiveness of licensing operations, and assisting Linex in developing licensing strategies, preparing infringement analysis of third-party products, and preparing and managing patent infringement litigation based on Linex’s patent portfolio, including the ‘322 and ‘705 patent.

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