By Eric Schweibenz
On October 21, 2011, Compound Photonics Ltd. of the United Kingdom and Compound Photonics U.S. Corporation of Phoenix, Arizona (“Compound Photonics U.S.”) (collectively, “Compound Photonics”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Sony Corporation of Japan, Sony Corporation of America of New York, New York, and Sony Electronics Inc. of San Diego, California (collectively, “Sony”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain controlled-angle retarders, components thereof (including “light engines” or “optical engines”), and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,829,027 (the ‘027 patent).

According to the complaint, the ‘027 patent generally relates to methods of fabricating a liquid crystal display (“LCD”) device with a “controlled-angle retarder,” comprising a liquid crystal cell and an adjustable retarder.  The complaint states that the invention of the ‘027 patent makes it possible to adjust the combined retardance of this liquid crystal system in order to optimize properties of the LCD device.

In the complaint, Compound Photonics states that Sony imports and sells products that infringe the ‘027 patent.  The complaint specifically names the Sony BRAVIA 3D home cinema 2K and other projectors that use SXRD technology as infringing products.  The complaint further specifically refers to Sony’s 4K projectors as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Compound Photonics states that Compound Photonics U.S. has a research, development, and production facility in Phoenix, Arizona and also maintains an office in Vancouver, Washington.  The complaint states that the Phoenix facility has over 270,000 square feet of commercial space, including a 35,000 square-foot clean room suitable for development and manufacturing.  According to the complaint, all of Compound Photonics U.S.’s research, development, design, engineering, and other activities are directed to developing and commercializing technologies that use, incorporate, or rely upon the invention of the ‘027 patent.  In particular, the complaint states that Compound Photonics U.S. is incorporating the invention of the ‘027 patent into its next-generation display products, including the optically addressed spatial light modulator, the pico projector, and the three-path liquid crystal on silicon projector.

As to related litigation, Compound Photonics states that it filed a complaint against Sony Corporation and Sony Electronics Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on October 20, 2011, alleging infringement of the ‘027 patent.

With respect to potential remedy, Compound Photonics requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Sony entities, their affiliates, and any others acting on their behalf.