By Eric Schweibenz
On August 26, 2010, American GNC of Simi Valley, California (“AGNC”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Furuno Electronics Co., Ltd. of Japan, Furuno U.S.A. Inc. of Camas, Washington, Navico Holding AS of Norway, Navico UK, Ltd. of the United Kingdom, Navico, Inc. of Nashua, New Hampshire, Flir Systems, Inc. of Wilsonville, Oregon, Raymarine UK Ltd. of the United Kingdom, and Raymarine Inc. of Merrimack, New Hampshire (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) through the manufacture, sale for importation, importation, and/or sale within the U.S. after importation of marine autopilots with GPS or IMU and components thereof infringe certain claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,596,976 (the ‘976 patent).

The complaint describes the ‘976 patent as relating to a method and system for pointing and stabilizing a device which needs to be pointed and stabilized with a determined orientation, for example, an antennae, missile, or rifle, wherein output signals of an inertial measurement unit and the desired direction information are processed to compute rotation commands to an actuator; the actuator rotates and stabilizes the device at the desired direction according to the rotation commands.  The complaint further states that the method and system also provide a visual and voice device attached to provide a user with visualization and voice indications of targets and the pointing and stabilization operational procedure.  The complaint asserts that this system has been adopted by the Proposed Respondents for use in various marine autopilot devices with a GPS or IMU, making it possible, for example, to maintain a set course that is not affected by wind and tide.

With respect to the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement, AGNC asserts that several of its products, including those it manufactures for the United States Navy are covered in whole or in part by the ‘976 patent, and that all of its work for such products, including research and development, consultation, manufacturing, product sales, sales support, licensing and operations occurs in its Simi Valley, California location.  With respect to the economic prong, the complaint alleges AGNC's domestic industry activities include significant investment in plant and equipment, significant employment of labor and capital and substantial investment in engineering and R&D with respect to its products practicing the ‘976 patent.

Regarding potential remedy, AGNC seeks a permanent exclusion order pursuant to Section 337(d), or in the alternative, a permanent limited exclusion order, and a permanent cease-and-desist order pursuant to Section 337(f) directed to each of the Proposed Respondents.