By Eric Schweibenz
On March 28, 2012, HumanEyes Technologies, Ltd. (“HumanEyes”) 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 cameras and mobile devices, related software and firmware, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,665,003 (the ‘003 patent) and 7,477,284 (the ‘284 patent):

  • Sony Corporation of Japan

  • Sony Corporation of America of New York, New York

  • Sony Electronics, Inc. of San Diego, California

  • Sony Mobile Communications AB of England

  • Sony Mobile Communications (USA) Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia

According to the complaint, HumanEyes is the exclusive licensee of the asserted patents, both related to improved methods of generating 3D images.  The ‘003 patent is directed to generating a pair of panoramic mosaic images for use in facilitating panoramic stereoscopic viewing of a scene and displaying these images in a viewer.  The ‘284 patent relates to generating mosaic images of a scene from a series of images captured using an ordinary camera and displaying the resulting mosaic images “to provide a sense of depth.”

The complaint describes the infringing activities of the Proposed Respondents as a collaborative effort and specifically notes that at least a subset of the Proposed Respondents knew of the patents, as the ‘284 patent was cited in a non-final rejection during the prosecution of a patent assigned to Sony Corporation and Sony Electronics, Inc.  HumanEyes identifies the accused products as various cameras and mobile phones and associated firmware and software in the Cyber-Shot (DSC) camera and Xperia mobile phone product lines.

With regard to related litigation, the complaint states that HumanEyes is concurrently filing a civil action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware accusing the Proposed Respondents of infringing the asserted patents.

HumanEyes asserts that it meets both the economic and technical prongs of the domestic industry requirements.  According to the complaint, HumanEyes develops and markets software to create panoramic 3D mosaic images using a standard digital camera, and currently offers a “comprehensive suite of software products and [a] U.S. based Snapily lenticular printing” service that realize this goal.  Both the software and the Snapily printing services are alleged to practice the asserted patents.  HumanEyes states that the United States is its “most important geographic market” and nearly “100% of [its] online sales are believed to be U.S. customers.”  The complaint notes that HumanEyes’ investments also include printing equipment at the Snapily facilities as well as employees in the U.S. that tend to business development, sales, customer support, and R&D work.  Last, HumanEyes argues that it has also “invested substantially in a licensing program aimed at identifying and cultivating partnerships with companies interested in incorporating HumanEyes technology into their products.”

With respect to potential remedy, the complaint requests the Commission to issue permanent exclusion and cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents and their allegedly infringing devices.