By Eric Schweibenz
On September 3, 2013, Optical Devices, LLC of Peterborough, New Hampshire (“Optical Devices”) 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 optical disc drives, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,904,007 (the ‘007 patent), 7,196,979 (the ‘979 patent), 8,416,651 (the ‘651 patent), RE40,927 (the ‘927 patent), RE42,913 (the ‘913 patent), and RE43,681 (the ‘681 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Lenovo Group Ltd. of Hong Kong

  • Lenovo (United States) Inc. of Morrisville, North Carolina

  • LG Electronics, Inc. of South Korea

  • LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

  • Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Japan

  • Nintendo of America, Inc. of Redmond, Washington

  • Panasonic Corp. of Japan

  • Panasonic Corp. of North America of Secaucus, New Jersey

  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of South Korea

  • Samsung Electronics America Inc. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey

  • Toshiba Corp. of Japan

  • Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. of Irvine, California

  • MediaTek, Inc. of Taiwan

  • MediaTek USA Inc. of San Jose, California

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally encompass technology that is essential to contemporary optical disc drives, including those contained in most desktop and laptop computers, console gaming systems, and audio/visual products.  In particular, the ‘007 patent relates to methods and apparatuses for calibrating loop gains in a digital servo system.  The ‘979 patent relates to methods and apparatuses for maintaining operating parameters for operating an optical disc drive.  The ‘651 patent relates to digital servo methods and digital servos for producing or determining tracking and focus control signals.  The ‘927 patent relates to methods and apparatuses for measuring characteristics or properties of optical systems including a focusing means and a surface exhibiting some degree of retroreflectivity positioned in the focal plane of the focusing means.  The ‘913 patent relates to methods and apparatuses for detecting characteristics or properties of at least a portion of an optical system based on retroreflected energy.  Lastly, the ‘681 patent relates to methods and apparatuses for directing a laser at an object within an optical system.

In the complaint, Optical Devices states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to various laptop computers, Blu-ray disc players, and video games systems associated with the Proposed Respondents.

Regarding domestic industry, Optical Devices states that a domestic industry exists based on the activities of one or more of its domestic licensees.  In particular, Optical Devices refers to the activities of Sony Corp. and related entities (collectively, “Sony”) and Sharp Corp. and related entities (collectively, “Sharp”), and states that various Sony and Sharp products practice the asserted patents in the U.S.  According to the complaint, Sony and Sharp have made significant investments in plant and equipment, engaged in a significant employment of labor and capital, and made substantial investments in the exploitation of the patented technology in the U.S.

As to related litigation, Optical Devices states that it is currently engaged in litigation against Panasonic and LG in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.  Optical Devices further states that it intends to file additional complaints in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against the remaining Proposed Respondents.  Optical Devices also refers to a previous litigation against Sharp, which was voluntarily dismissed on August 12, 2013.

With respect to potential remedy, Optical Devices requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order directed at the domestic Proposed Respondents.