By Eric Schweibenz
On September 19, 2012, Realtek Semiconductor Corporation of Taiwan (“Realtek”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that LSI Corporation of Milpitas, California (“LSI”) and Seagate Technology of Cupertino, California (“Seagate”) (collectively, “Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain integrated circuit chips that include bond pad structures or level shifter circuitry and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,787,928 and 6,963,226.

According to the complaint, the ‘928 patent generally relates to bond pad structures that may be incorporated into integrated circuit chips.  In particular, the ‘928 patent relates to a bond pad that prevents detachment during the bonding process and is insulated from noise transferred from the active components at the substrate level of the chip.  The ‘226 patent generally relates to a voltage level shifter implemented in integrated circuits, and more specifically to a voltage level shifter that includes a pull-down circuit, a pull-up circuit and a clamping circuit that permits the shifting of a lower voltage signal to a higher voltage signal in an improved manner.

Realtek alleges in the complaint that LSI and Seagate import and sell products that infringe the ‘928 and ‘226 patents.  The complaint refers to various LSI chips and a certain Seagate hard disk drive as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Realtek asserts that it has made significant investments in plant, equipment, labor and capital in the U.S. with respect to the asserted patent in terms of research and development, and design and engineering through its domestic subsidiary, Real Communications, Inc., located in San Jose, California (“Realcom”).  The complaint states that Realcom houses employees and equipment “devoted towards” products practicing the bond pad structures and level shifter circuitry of the asserted patents, and supports the design, engineering, marketing and sales, project management, business operations and planning, and administrative services relating to the articles that incorporate the patented technology.  Realtek also submitted confidential exhibits with its complaint that allegedly describe representative domestic industry products it currently manufactures, including the layout of the bond pads and a circuit diagram showing a low-to-high level shifter.  The complaint specifically states that “Realtek does not base its support for finding domestic industry on any licensing activities.”

As to related litigation, the complainant states that on June 29, 2012, Realtek filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that LSI infringes the asserted patents (Realtek Semiconductor Corp. v. LSI Corp., Case No. 5:12-cv-03437-EJD (N.D. Cal.)).

With respect to potential remedy, Realtek requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders directed at LSI and Seagate.