By Eric Schweibenz
On November 1, 2011, ChriMar Systems, Inc. d/b/a CMS Technologies of Farmington Hills, Michigan (“ChriMar”) 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 communication equipment, components thereof, and products containing same, including power over Ethernet telephones, switches, wireless access points, routers and other devices used in WLANs, and cameras that are compliant with the IEEE 802.3af and/or IEEE 802.3at amendments to the IEEE 802.3 standard and that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,457,250 (the ‘250 patent):

  • Cisco Systems, Inc. of San Jose, California

  • Cisco Consumer Products LLC of Irvine, California

  • Cisco Systems International B.V. of the Netherlands

  • Cisco-Linksys LLC of Irvine, California

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, California

  • 3Com Corporation of Marlborough, Massachusetts

  • Avaya Inc. of Basking Ridge, New Jersey

  • Extreme Networks, Inc. of Santa Clara, California

According to the complaint, the ‘250 patent generally relates to a system for detecting, at a central module, a remote piece of Ethernet equipment that connects to an Ethernet network.  The complaint states that this information is conveyed over the same Ethernet cable used to carry normal network information.

In the complaint, ChriMar states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the ‘250 patent.  The complaint specifically identifies a number of allegedly infringing products associated with the various Proposed Respondents.

Regarding domestic industry, ChriMar states that it has made significant investments in plant and equipment in the U.S. with respect to articles protected by the ‘250 patent.  According to the complaint, these articles include the Etherlock II and related products, such as the Etherlock ID, PC Key, and Watcher.  ChriMar also states that it has engaged in significant employment of labor and capital in the U.S. and has conducted engineering and research and development in the U.S. with respect to articles protected by the ‘250 patent.  ChriMar specifically refers to its facilities in Farmington Hills, Michigan, in support of its domestic industry allegations.  Additionally, ChriMar cites to its licensing activities in the U.S. and to the domestic activities of its licensee Hubbell, Inc.

As to related litigation, ChriMar states that it has previously asserted the ‘250 patent in four district court cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  In the first of these cases, defendant Waters Network Systems LLC consented to the entry of judgment against it and took a license to the ‘250 patent.  In the second case, defendant Dampex Corporation consented to the entry of judgment against it.  In the third case, one of the defendants, Neteon Technologies, Inc., consented to the entry of judgment against it and took a license to the ‘250 patent.  The remainder of this third case was then transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where it was voluntarily dismissed.  The fourth case was voluntarily dismissed.  Additionally, ChriMar states that the ‘250 patent has undergone ex parte reexamination at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”).  According to the complaint, on March 1, 2011, the PTO issued a reexamination certificate confirming the patentability of the reexamined claims without amendment.  Lastly, ChriMar states that on October 31, 2011, it filed a complaint against the Proposed Respondents (except for Cisco Systems International B.V.) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging infringement of the ‘250 patent.

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