04
Feb
By John Presper and Alec Royka
On January 25, 2021, the ITC issued a press release announcing their vote to institute an investigation in Certain IP Camera Systems Including Video Doorbells and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1242). This investigation is based on a December 18, 2020 complaint filed by SkyBell Technologies, Inc., SB IP Holdings, LLC, and Eyetalk365, LLC (collectively, “Complainants”). According to the Notice of Investigation, the Commission identified Vivant Smart Home, Inc. of Provo, Utah; SimpliSafe, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts; and Arlo Technologies, Inc. of San Jose, California as Respondents in this matter. The Office of Unfair Import Investigations will not participate as a party in the investigation. Lastly, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice indicating that ALJ Dee Lord will preside in this investigation.

The complaint alleges that Respondents unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain IP camera systems including video doorbells and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 10,097,796 (“the ’796 patent”), 10,200,660 (“the ’660 patent”), 19,523,906 (“the ’906 patent”), 10,097,797 (the ’797 patent”), 9,485,478 (the ’478 patent”), 10,674,120 (“the ’120 patent”), and 9,432,638 (“the ’638 patent”) (collectively, “the Asserted Patents”).

According to the complaint, the Asserted Patents generally relate to video doorbells and IP camera systems. In particular, the ’796 and ’638 patents concern a communication and monitoring system that has a camera, microphone, speaker, one or more buttons, and a motion sensor that are configured to stream digital video and audio to a software application on a cell phone or other device when a person is detected. The ’660, ’906, ’797 and ’120 patents concern a communication and monitoring system that has a camera, microphone, speaker, and motion sensor that are configured to stream digital video and audio to a software application on a cell phone or other device when a person is detected. The ’478 patent concerns a communication and monitoring system that has a camera, microphone, speaker, one or more buttons, and proximity sensor that are configured to stream digital video and audio to a software application on a cell phone or other device when a person is detected.

Regarding domestic industry, Complainants allege that a domestic industry exists in the United States by virtue of Complainants’ and their subcontractors’ (i) significant investments in plant and equipment, (ii) significant investments in labor and capital, and (iii) substantial investments in the exploitation of the Asserted Patents through research and development, engineering and/or licensing. Specifically, Complainants point to SkyBell’s headquarters in California, SkyBell’s investment in the employment of labor or capital with respect to its product, a number of licenses covering the Asserted Patents, and a number of SkyBell products incorporating the Asserted Patents, such as the SkyBell HD, SkyBell Slim, and Trim.

In the complaint, Complainants state that the Respondents import and sell products that infringe the Asserted Patents. The complaint specifically refers to the Vivint Video Doorbell, Vivint Ping Camera, SimpliSafe Video Doorbell, SimpliSafe SimpliCam Camera, Arlo Video Doorbell, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Pro 3, Arlo Pro 4, Arlo Essential, Arlo Q, and Arlo Baby as infringing products.

As to related litigation, Complainants state that Eyetalk has filed a number of different complaints in the U.S. District Courts for the Western District of North Carolina, District of Delaware and District of Nevada alleging infringement of one or more of the Asserted Patents against SkyBell and multiple different non-parties. However, the complaint notes that all complaints filed by Eyetalk against SkyBell and other non-party defendants have been terminated. Complainants also state that on November 17, 2020, SkyBell filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Respondent Vivint alleging infringement of the ’638, ’478, and ’120 patents. No responsive pleadings have been filed in that case yet.

With respect to potential remedy, Complainants request that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order, a cease-and-desist order, and impose a bond on importation and sales of infringing products during the 60-day Presidential review period directed at the Respondents.
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