24
Feb
By John Presper and Alec Royka
On February 16, 2021, the ITC issued a Notice of Investigation in Certain Cellular Communications Infrastructure Systems, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same (Inv. 337-TA-1248).

By way of background, this investigation is based on a January 15, 2021 complaint filed by Ericsson Inc. of Plano, Texas and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson of Sweden (collectively, “Ericsson”) alleging a violation of Section 337 by Respondents Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of Republic of Korea and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey (“Samsung”) in the unlawful importation and sale in the U.S. of certain cellular communications infrastructure systems, components thereof, and products containing same by reason of infringement of one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,037,166 (“the ’166 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 9,107,082 (“the ’082 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 9,509,605 (“the ’605 patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 9,692,682 (“the ’682 patent”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to cellular communications infrastructure systems, base stations, and core network systems. In particular, the ’166 patent relates to wireless cellular communications systems and methods for scheduling new paging messages. The ’082 patent relates to wireless cellular communications systems where a base station is equipped with at least one array antenna. The ’605 patent relates to a communication system with an access point and wire line network. And the ’682 patent relates to methods and systems for handling handover failures from a source cell to a target cell in a wireless communications network.

The accused products identified in the complaint include “Samsung’s 4G and 5G cellular communications products, e.g., antenna/radios such as Samsung Radios, Massive MIMO Radios, and Access Units (MTP02P-41 A, SFG-AA100AC, AT1K01, MT6402-48A, 64T64R MMU, 32T32R MMU, 8T8R Radio, 4T4R Radio, 2T2R Radio, the Compact Macro (Access Unite), and similar radios, MIMO radios, and access unites); base stations such as Samsung’s CDU50 and CDU30; and Virtualized RAN and core network products such as Samsung’s Cloud Native Core and Compact Core.”

Regarding domestic industry, Ericsson alleges that a domestic industry exists in the United States with respect to articles protected by the asserted patents by virtue of its significant investments in plant and equipment, significant employment of labor or capital, and substantial investments in exploitation of the asserted patents through engineering and research and development. Specifically, Ericsson points to its approximately $100 million dollar investment for the construction of a “28,000sq-m state of the art smart factory” in Lewisville, Texas for the production of its Street Macro 6701 product practicing the ’082 and ’605 patents. Ericsson also points to certain base station products protected by the ’116, ’682, ’082 and ’605 patents that are manufactured in Texas, as well as significant investments in plant and equipment in Parsippany, New Jersey; Plano, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Pleasanton, California; Irvine, California; Seattle Washington; and Kansas City, Kansas. Ericsson further alleges that it employs thousands of people within the U.S. to develop, assemble, build, configure, program, test, install, maintain, and support its base station products.

As to related litigation, Ericsson concurrently filed an action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging that Samsung infringes, inter alia, the asserted patents. The complaint also identifies numerous other legal disputes between Ericsson and Samsung, including pending complaints filed at the ITC filed by either party, ongoing litigation in Europe and Asia between the two parties; three already filed suits by Ericsson against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas, and two previously terminated ITC investigations between the two parties (Inv. Nos. 337-TA-955 and 337-TA-862).

With respect to the potential remedy, Ericsson requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and cease-and-desist order directed to Samsung.

Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice indicating that ALJ David P. Shaw will preside in this investigation. The Office of Unfair Import Investigations will not participate as a party in the investigation.
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