By Eric Schweibenz
On February 15, 2012, Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation of San Diego, California (“Peregrine”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that RF Micro Devices, Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina (“RFMD”) and Motorola Mobility, Inc. of Libertyville, Illinois (“Motorola”) (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain radio frequency integrated circuits, including radio frequency switches, and devices containing same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,910,993 (the ‘993 patent), 7,123,898 (the ‘898 patent), 7,460,852 (the ‘852 patent), 7,796,969 (the ‘969 patent), and 7,860,499 (the ‘499 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to advanced integrated circuit technologies for use in radio frequency (RF) circuits, including but not limited to RF switches.  In particular, the ‘994 patent relates to an integrated circuit transistor apparatus and method of manufacturing same that provides improved linearity of MOSFET transistors on an RF integrated circuit.  The ‘898 patent relates to a radio frequency switch apparatus and method of manufacturing same that provides improved characteristics of the switch, thus relaxing requirements for signals input to the switch and improving signals output from the switch.  The ‘852, ‘969, and ‘499 patents are related to the ‘898 patent and, like the ‘898 patent, they teach a radio frequency switch apparatus and method of manufacturing same.

In the complaint, Peregrine states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically names devices with M1D1604 and M1D1293 integrated circuit die markings as infringing products.  According to the complaint, these accused dies are marketed and sold by RFMD under the RF switch device names RF1603, RF1604, and RF1293, and variants thereof.  The complaint further states that Motorola’s DROID RAZR and DROID BIONIC smartphones contain the infringing M1D1604 die.

Regarding domestic industry, the complaint states that Peregrine’s PE42641 and PE42440 RF switch products each embody at least one claim of each of the asserted patents.  With respect to the economic prong, Peregrine states that its activities in the U.S. are devoted to developing, manufacturing, and testing RF switching devices that employ and exploit technology covered by the asserted patents.  Peregrine specifically refers to its facilities in California, Illinois, and New Hampshire and states that it has made significant and substantial investments in these facilities that directly relate to the research, development, engineering, and manufacture of RF switching products that exploit the technology of the asserted patents.  Peregrine further states that it employs full-time equivalent personnel dedicated to the manufacture of the patented products, as well as engineers and engineering technicians either partially or fully dedicated to researching and developing RF switching products that exploit technology protected by the asserted patents. 

With respect to potential remedy, Peregrine requests that the Commission issue a permanent general exclusion order—or in the alternative, a permanent limited exclusion order—and permanent cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents.  Peregrine states that a general exclusion order is warranted because there is a pattern of violation of Section 337, it is difficult to identify the sources of infringing products, and a general exclusion order is necessary to prevent circumvention of an exclusion order limited to products of the Proposed Respondents.