By Eric Schweibenz
On August 12, 2011, Renesas Electronics Corporation of Japan (“Renesas”) and 511 Technologies, Inc. of Marshall, Texas (“511 Technologies”) (collectively, the “Complainants”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Vizio, Inc. of Irvine, California (“Vizio”) unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and/or sells within the U.S. after importation certain digital televisions containing integrated circuit devices and components thereof that infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,199,432 (the ‘432 patent) and 6,531,400 (the ‘400 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to semiconductor integrated circuit devices.  In particular, the ‘432 patent relates to a semiconductor device with inventively arranged dummy interconnections.  The ‘432 patent teaches actual interconnections formed in the principal surface of a substrate and additional dummy interconnections formed of the same material as the actual interconnections but not functioning as working elements.  The ‘400 patent relates to a process for manufacturing a semiconductor integrated circuit device using specialized anticorrosion techniques.  In particular, the ‘400 patent teaches using light shielding and specialized polishing, cleaning, and drying to prevent corrosion of metal wirings (e.g., copper wirings) formed by using the chemical mechanical polishing method.

In the complaint, the Complainants state that Vizio imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically names the Vizio E3D320VX television as an infringing product.

Regarding domestic industry, the Complainants state that Renesas has licensed the asserted patents to a large U.S. semiconductor manufacturer and that this licensee has made extensive use of the inventions claimed in the asserted patents by virtue of its design, manufacture, distribution, and/or sales in the U.S. of products covered by the asserted patents.  The Complainants further state on information and belief that Renesas’s licensee makes significant investments in plant and equipment in the U.S., employs significant labor and capital in the U.S., and makes substantial investments in engineering and research and development relating to devices manufactured pursuant to the license agreement and protected by the asserted patents.  Additionally, the Complainants state that 511 Technologies makes substantial investments in licensing and/or enforcing the asserted patents in the U.S. on behalf of Renesas. 

As to related litigation, the Complainants state that Renesas and Vizio are currently parties to Inv. No. 337-TA-789, which is based on an ITC complaint filed by Vizio on June 16, 2011 and subsequent filings.  See our July 15, 2011 post for more details.  Additionally, the Complainants state that concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, Renesas will file a civil action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas accusing Vizio of infringing the asserted patents.  Lastly, the complaint states that Renesas once asserted a patent related to the ‘432 patent against Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

With respect to potential remedy, the Complainants request that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at Vizio and others acting on its behalf.