By Eric Schweibenz
On June 21, 2013, 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 GoerTek, Inc. of China and GoerTek Electronics, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California (collectively, “GoerTek”) 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), 8,018,049 (the ‘049 patent), and 8,121,331 (the ‘331 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to silicon microphone packages.  In particular, the ‘616 and ‘331 patents relate to packages that contain a silicon microphone die.  The ‘049 patent relates to a package that contains a silicon microphone die, as well as a method for manufacturing such a package. 

In the complaint, Knowles states that GoerTek imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to various GoerTek silicon microphone packages as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Knowles states that its SPU0140LR5H bottom-port MEMS microphone product and/or its SPU0140HR5H top-port MEMS microphone product—both of which are in Knowles’s SiSonic product family—practice at least one claim of each of the asserted patents.  As to the economic prong, Knowles refers to its significant activities within the U.S., including manufacture, research and development, and application engineering support for its SiSonic MEMS silicon microphone packages.  Knowles specifically refers to its facilities in Illinois and California.

As to related litigation, Knowles states that, concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, it is also suing GoerTek in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for infringement of the asserted patents.  Knowles also refers to a previous case in the Northern District of Illinois against Analog Devices, Inc., which was settled and voluntarily dismissed on March 13, 2013.  In addition, Knowles refers to ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-825, where Knowles alleged infringement of the ‘049 and ‘616 patents against Analog Devices, Inc. and others.  That investigation was recently terminated based on a settlement agreement.  See our March 13, 2013 post for more details.  Lastly, the complaint refers to inter partes reexaminations of the ‘616 and ‘049 patents, as well as an inter partes review (IPR) of the ‘616 patent.

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 GoerTek and related entities.