By Eric Schweibenz
On September 18, 2009, Ricoh Company, Ltd of Japan, Ricoh Americas Corporation of West Caldwell, New Jersey, and Ricoh Electronics, Inc. of Tustin, California (collectively, “Ricoh”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Oki Data Corporation of Japan and Oki Data Americas, Inc. of Mount Laurel, New Jersey (collectively, “Oki Data”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and sell within the U.S. after importation certain printing and imaging devices, including multifunction printers (“MFP”), and components thereof, including at least image drums and fuser units, which allegedly infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 5,764,866 (the ‘866 patent); 6,388,771 (the ‘771 patent); 6,209,048 (the ‘048 patent); 6,212,343 the ‘343 patent); and 5,863,690 (the ‘690 patent).

According to the complaint, (i) the ‘866 patent “relates generally to a document scanning device that connects directly to a network and can receive scan conditions from and send image data to the network”; (ii) the ‘771 patent “relates generally to image input devices, such as scanners, that read images and transfer the image data to a host computer via an interface, without the need for a user to input instructions to the host computer”; (iii) the ‘048 patent “relates generally to a peripheral printing or imaging device (e.g., MFP, scanner, copier, or camera) that contains an internal server that allows the printing or scanning device to communicate directly over a network without an intermediate server or computer”; (iv) the ‘343 patent “relates generally to a printer cartridge containing internal components that prevent toner from leaking out of the cartridge or into unwanted regions of the cartridge”; and (v) the ‘690 patent “relates generally to a method of affixing toner to a document using a fixing roller that has specific adhesion characteristics.”

In the complaint, Ricoh alleges that Oki Data unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and sells within the U.S. after importation certain printing and imaging devices and components thereof, including Oki Data product C3530n.  According to the complaint, Oki Data product C3530n is made for Oki Data in Thailand and the image drums and fuser units for this Oki Data product are made for Oki Data in Thailand and China.

Regarding related litigation, the complaint asserts that                         “[c]ontemporaneous with this filing, Ricoh filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Oki [Data] in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on the same five patents asserted in this investigation.”

With respect to domestic industry (technical prong), Ricoh asserts that certain of its products  practice certain claims of each asserted patent.  Further, Ricoh asserts that it satisfies the domestic industry (economic prong) requirement through “Ricoh’s significant investment in plant, labor, capital, research & development, and licensing with respect to such articles protected by the asserted patents.”

Regarding potential remedy, Ricoh asks that the Commission to “[s]et a target date of no more than fourteen (14) months”, issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed to all of the proposed respondents.