09
Dec
By Alex Gasser
On December 7, 2011, Knowles Electronics LLC of Itasca, Illinois (“Knowles”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Analog Devices Inc. of Norwood, Massachusetts (“ADI”), Amkor Technology, Inc. of Chandler, Arizona (“Amkor”), and Avnet, Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona (“Avnet”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain silicon microphone packages and products containing the same that infringe, or that are made by a process that infringes, one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,439,616 (the ‘616 patent) and 8,018,049 (the ‘049 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to silicon microphone package technology.  In particular, the ‘616 patent relates to a package that contains a silicon microphone die.  The ‘049 patent relates to a package that contains a silicon microphone die and a method for manufacturing the package.

In the complaint, Knowles states that ADI, Amkor, and Avnet import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically names a number of ADI silicon microphones and evaluation boards containing silicon microphones as infringing products.  According to the complaint, Amkor manufactures these ADI products pursuant to ADI’s specifications and requirements and provides them to ADI and Avnet, among others.

Regarding domestic industry, Knowles states that it practices the asserted patents in the U.S. through its manufacture, research and development, and application support for its SiSonic MEMS silicon microphone packages.  According to the complaint, Knowles’s domestic facility includes salaried research and design engineers, salaried administrative employees, tens of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, and other assets allowing for the research, development, production, and sales of its acoustic products.

As to related litigation, Knowles states that on November 14, 2006, it filed a complaint against various entities and individuals in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging misappropriation of trade secrets related to silicon microphones.  Knowles states that the resulting action was settled by the parties and dismissed with prejudice.  Additionally, Knowles states that on December 13, 2006, it filed a complaint against Akustica, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,781,231 (the ‘231 patent).  Knowles states that this action was settled by the parties and dismissed without prejudice.  Knowles further states that on October 6, 2009, it filed a complaint against ADI in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging infringement of the ‘231 patent and U.S. Patent No. 7,242,089 (the ‘089 patent).  Knowles states that this action was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice on October 5, 2011.  However, Knowles states that on September 27, 2011, it filed another complaint against ADI in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,537,964 and the ‘049 patent.  Knowles also refers to Inv. No. 337-TA-629 at the ITC, where it accused MEMS Technology Berhad (“MemsTech”) of violating Section 337 through its alleged infringement of the ‘231 and ‘089 patents.  See our October 31, 2011 post for more details.  Please note that Oblon Spivak represents MemsTech in the 629 investigation.  Knowles further refers to Inv. No. 337-TA-695, where it accused ADI of violating Section 337 through its alleged infringement of the ‘231 and ‘089 patents.  See our January 3, 2011 post for more details.  Lastly, Knowles refers to various inter partes and ex parte reexaminations of the ‘231, ‘089, and ‘616 patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Knowles requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at ADI, Amkor, Avnet, and related companies.
Share