20
Aug
By John Presper and Alec Royka

On August 13, 2021, Chief ALJ Bullock issued a notice of his initial determination (“ID”) finding a violation of section 337 in Certain Audio Players and Controllers, Components Thereof, and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-1191).

By way of background, the Commission instituted this investigation on February 6, 2020 based on a complaint filed by Sonos Inc. alleging violations of section 337 by Respondents Google LLC and Alphabet Inc. (collectively, “Google”) through the importation and/or sale of certain audio players and controllers, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe one of more claims of the U.S. Patent No. 9,195,258, U.S. Patent No. 10,209,953, U.S. Patent No. 9,219,959, U.S. Patent No. 8,588,949, and U.S. Patent No. 10,439,896.

According to the notice, Chief ALJ Bullock found that Google violated section 337 by importing and/or selling products that infringe all of the asserted patents.  Chief ALJ Bullock also issued a recommended determination on remedy and bond if the Commission finds a violation. We will post the public version of the ID when it becomes available.

On August 16, 2021, the Commission issued a notice of its request for submissions from the public on public interest issues raised by the recommended relief should the Commission find a violation.  According to the notice, “[t]he Commission is soliciting submissions on public interest issues raised by the recommended relief should the Commission find a violation, specifically:  a limited exclusion order directed to certain audio players and controller, components thereof, and products containing the same that are imported, sold for importation, and/or sold after importation by respondent Google . . . that infringe one or more of [the asserted claims]; and a cease and desist order directed to the same.”  The notice indicates that the Commission is particularly interested in comments that:

  1. Explain how the articles potentially subject to the recommended remedial orders are used in the United States;
  2. Identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the recommended orders;
  3. Identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which would replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;
  4. Indicate whether the complainant, complainant’s licensees, and/or third-party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the recommend orders within a commercially reasonable time; and
  5. Explain how the recommended orders would impact consumers in the United States.
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