By Eric Schweibenz
On March 26, 2012, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued a notice determining to review-in-part the final initial determination finding a violation of Section 337 in Certain Liquid Crystal Display Devices, Including Monitors, Televisions, Modules, and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-741/749).

By way of background, the Complainants in this matter are Thomson Licensing SAS and Thomson Licensing LLC (collectively, “Thomson”), and the Respondents are Chimei Innolux Corp., Chi Mei Optoelectronics USA, Inc., Innolux Corp. (collectively, “CMI”); Qisda Corp., Qisda America Corp., Qisda (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (collectively, “Qisda”); BenQ Corp., BenQ America Corp., BenQ Latin America (collectively, “BenQ”); AU Optronics Corp., AU Optronics Corp. America (collectively “AUO”); Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (“Realtek”); and MStar Semiconductor, Inc (“MStar”).  Thomson accused Respondents of infringing certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,121,941 (the ‘941 patent), 5,978,063 (the ‘063 patent), 5,648,674 (the ‘674 patent), 5,621,556 (the ‘556 patent), and 5,375,006 (the ‘006 patent). 

On January 12, 2012, ALJ Robert K. Rogers, Jr. issued an Initial Determination (“ID”) finding a violation of Section 337 with respect to the ‘674 patent.  According to the notice, the “ALJ found that the CMI accused products including the Type 2 Array Circuitry and any Qisda or BenQ accused products incorporating these CMI accused products infringe the asserted claims of the ‘674 patent.”  No other accused products were found to infringe the ‘674 patent or the other patents at issue.  See our January 17, 2012 post for more details.  ALJ Rogers also determined that the asserted claims of the ‘674, ‘556, and ‘941 patents are not invalid, but that certain claims of the ‘063 and ‘006 patents are invalid for obviousness and anticipation, respectively.  Lastly, the ALJ found that a domestic industry exists with respect to the asserted patents.   

According to the notice, on January 25, 2012, “Thomson, CMI, MStar, Realtek, and AUO filed a petition for review of the ID.  BenQ and Qisda filed a joint petition for review incorporating the other Respondents’ arguments by reference.” 

After examining the record of the investigation, including the ID and the parties’ submission, the Commission determined to review the ID in part.  In particular, the Commission determined to review 16 individual findings of the ALJ including, inter alia, issues related to anticipation and obviousness of the asserted claims, the status of certain references as prior art, claim construction, infringement, the exclusion of certain evidence, and the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement.  The notice states that the parties are requested to submit briefing on the issues under review and on remedy, the public interest, and bonding.  The notice further states that the Commission is particularly interested in responses to twenty questions listed in the notice.

Written submissions are due by April 9, 2012, with reply submission due by April 16, 2012.