By Eric Schweibenz
On October 21, 2011, Beacon Navigation GmbH of Switzerland (“Beacon”) 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 automotive GPS navigation systems, components thereof, and products containing same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,374,180 (the ‘180 patent), 6,178,380 (the ‘380 patent), 6,029,111 (the ‘111 patent), and 5,862,511 (the ‘511 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Audi AG of Germany

  • Audi of America, Inc. of Auburn Hills, Michigan

  • Audi of America, LLC of Herndon, Virginia

  • Bayerische Motoren Werke AG of Germany

  • BMW of North America, LLC of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

  • BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC of Greer, South Carolina

  • Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Michigan

  • Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan

  • General Motors Company of Detroit, Michigan

  • Honda Motor Co., Ltd. of Japan

  • Honda North America, Inc. of Torrance, California

  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc. of Torrance, California

  • Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC of Lincoln, Alabama

  • Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC of Greensburg, Indiana

  • Honda of America Mfg., Inc. of Marysville, Ohio

  • Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea

  • Hyundai Motor America of Fountain Valley, California

  • Huyndai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC of Montgomery, Alabama

  • Kia Motors Corp. of South Korea

  • Kia Motors America, Inc. of Irvine, California

  • Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. of West Point, Georgia

  • Mazda Motor Corporation of Japan

  • Mazda Motor of America, Inc. of Irvine, California

  • Daimler AG of Germany

  • Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC of Montvale, New Jersey

  • Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. of Vance, Alabama

  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. of Japan

  • Nissan North America, Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee

  • Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG of Germany

  • Porsche Cars North America, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia

  • Saab Automobile AB of Sweden

  • Saab Cars North America, Inc. of Royal Oak, Michigan

  • Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan

  • American Suzuki Motor Corporation of Brea, California

  • Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC of Mahwah, New Jersey

  • Jaguar Cars Limited of the United Kingdom

  • Land Rover of the United Kingdom

  • Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan

  • Toyota Motor North America, inc. of Torrance, California

  • Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. of Torrance, California

  • Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. of Erlanger, Kentucky

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. of Princeton, Indiana

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. of Georgetown, Kentucky

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc. of Blue Springs, Mississippi

  • Volkswagen AG of Germany

  • Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. of Herndon, Virginia

  • Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC of Herndon, Virginia

  • Volvo Car Corporation of Sweden

  • Volvo Cars of North America, LLC

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to apparatuses and methods for navigation systems.  In particular, the ‘180 patent relates to an invention which enables a user to search for identifiable locations, also known as points of interests, across categories.  The ‘380 patent relates to an invention for displaying a current road segment name in a designated location.  Lastly, the ‘111 and ‘511 patents relate to aspects of dead reckoning position determination based on GPS velocity information.

In the complaint, Beacon states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically identifies a number of allegedly infringing products associated with the various Proposed Respondents.

Regarding domestic industry, Beacon states that a domestic industry exists by virtue of a significant investment in plant and equipment, a significant investment in labor and capital, and a substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents, including engineering and research and development.  According to the complaint, Beacon has licensed the asserted patents to an entity that maintains a domestic industry relating to the asserted patents; however, the licensee’s identity and the extent of its domestic activities have been redacted from the public version of the complaint.

As to related litigation, Beacon states that on October 11, 2011, it filed a number of complaints in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware alleging infringement of the asserted patents, including separate complaints against each of the automotive groups making up the Proposed Respondents listed in the instant ITC complaint, as well as a complaint against Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc. and Subaru of America, Inc. (collectively, “Subaru”).  Beacon additionally states that, also on October 11, 2011, it filed another set of complaints against each of the automotive groups making up the Proposed Respondents listed in the instant ITC complaint, and Subaru, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging infringement of four other patents owned by Beacon.

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