By Eric Schweibenz
On October 1, 2009, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd of Japan and Murata Electronics North America, Inc. of Smyrna, Georgia (collectively, “Murata”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Ltd. of South Korea and Samsung Electro-Mechanics America, Inc. of Irvine, California (collectively, “SEMCO”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and sell within the U.S. after importation certain ceramic capacitors and products containing same which allegedly infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,266,229 (the ‘229 patent); 6,014,309 (the ‘309 patent); 6,377,439 (the ‘439 patent); and 6,243,254 (the ‘254 patent).

According to the complaint, “[t]hree of Murata’s asserted patents relate specifically to ceramic capacitors and the fourth of Murata’s asserted patents relates to a low equivalent series inductance.”  Specifically, the complaint describes the asserted patents as follows: (i) “the ‘229 patent is generally directed to a multilayer capacitor that is better adapted for high frequency circuit applications because it can have a lower equivalent series inductance (ESL)”; (ii) “the ‘309 patent describes ceramic parts such as a multilayer ceramic capacitor or a multilayer ceramic varistor” and further describes “how to select characteristics of the internal electrodes and of the ceramic layers to avoid manufacturing and reliability problems”; (iii) “the ‘439 patent is directed to a multilayer ceramic component, such as a multilayer ceramic capacitor, which is less susceptible to the cracking or delamination and has high thermal shock resistance and high reliability”; and (iv) “the ‘254 patent is directed to certain dielectric ceramic compositions and multilayer ceramic capacitors that use that ceramic as a dielectric.”

In the complaint, Murata alleges that SEMCO unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and sells within the U.S. after importation SEMCO ceramic capacitors that embody the inventions disclosed and claimed in the asserted patents.  Murata further alleges that SEMCO manufactures ceramic capacitors in foreign facilities in Korea, China, and the Philippines.

With respect to domestic industry (technical prong), Murata asserts that certain of its products practice certain claims of each asserted patent.  Further, Murata alleges that it satisfies the domestic industry (economic prong) requirement through Murata’s “significant investment in plant and equipment, significant employment of labor and capital, and substantial investment in the exploitation of the patents-in-suit through engineering, research and development, testing and quality assurance.”

Regarding potential remedy, Murata asks that the Commission issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed to SEMCO.