By Eric Schweibenz
On August 6, 2010, Spansion LLC (“Spansion”), of Sunnyvale, California filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that chip manufacturers/distributors Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of South Korea, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, Samsung International, Inc. of San Diego, California, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. of San Jose, California, Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC of Richardson, Texas (collectively “Samsung”), and downstream manufacturers/sellers Apple, Inc. of Cupertino, California, BenQ Corp. of Taiwan, BenQ America Corp. of Irvine, California,  Qisda Corp. of Taiwan, Kingston Technology Company, Inc. of Fountain Valley, California, Kingston Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. of China, Kingston Technology Far East Co. of Taiwan, Kingston Technology Far East (Malaysia) of Malaysia, MiTAC Digital Corporation (aka Magellan) of Santa Clara, California, MiTAC International Corporation of Taiwan, Nokia Corp. of Finland, Nokia Inc. of Irving, Texas, PNY Technologies, Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey, Research In Motion Ltd. of Canada, Research in Motion Corporation of Irving, Texas, Sirius XM Radio, Inc. of New York, New York, Transcend Information Inc. of Taiwan, Transcend Information Inc. (US) of Orange, California, Transcend Information Inc. (Shanghai Factory) of China (collectively, “Respondents”) through current and/or imminent manufacture, sale for importation, importation, and/or sale within the U.S. after importation of certain Samsung flash memory chips and downstream products containing those Samsung chips infringe certain claims in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,018,922 (the ‘922 patent), 6,900,124 (the ‘124 patent), 6,459, 625 (the ‘625 Patent), and/or 6,369,416 (the ‘416 patent) (collectively, the “Asserted Patents”).

The complaint asserts that the Samsung chips at issue include some of Samsung’s most recent generations of flash memory chips, namely Samsung’s 35, 42, 51, and 65 nanometer NAND Flash Memory Technology Node devices.  The complaint further asserts that such Samsung chips are assembled into downstream products by Respondents, including wireless phones, smartphones, camera phones, MP3 players, DVD players, DVRs, GPS devices, electronic card reader devices, televisions, and computers.

The complaint further asserts that the Asserted Patents generally describe how to structure, isolate, program, manufacture, and operate memory cells in a way that makes a chip containing those memory cells smaller, faster, less expensive and more reliable.  More specifically, the complaint asserts that the ‘922 and ‘124 patents describe a contact, formed between stacked gate layers in a flash memory device, that is shaped to improve reliability as the devices reduce in size.  The complaint asserts that the ‘625 patent describes optimizing electrical interconnection of components in the periphery area of the memory device, thereby minimizing the periphery area and facilitating smaller overall device sizes.  Finally, the complaint asserts that  the ‘416 patent describes an insulating layer substantially surrounding a gate portion, and a contact in the insulating layer with a sloped profile that facilitates higher density of devices while reducing change gain and loss through the contact.

With respect to the domestic industry requirement, Spansion asserts that is has significant investments in plant and equipment and in labor or capital in the United States, and substantial investment in the exploitation of the Asserted Patents through research and development, engineering, licensing, product development, testing, and quality control.  Spansion specifically asserts that its facilities in Austin, Texas manufacture chips that are sold commercially, and the overwhelming majority of the production output at these facilities practice the subject matter of the Asserted Patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Spansion requests the ITC to issue a permanent general exclusion order, a permanent limited exclusion order specifically directed to each Respondent and its affiliates, and a permanent cease-and-desist order.