On February 20, 2009, LG Electronics, Inc. of Korea filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to section 337 against Eastman Kodak Company.

This is the latest installment between Kodak and its Korean competitors concerning patent rights.  Kodak filed a 337 complaint against LG (and Samsung) on November 17, 2008 which resulted in the ITC instituting an investigation (337-TA-663 – Certain Mobile Telephones and Wireless Communication Devices Featuring Digital Cameras), which is currently pending at the ITC.  Just last week, on February 17, 2009, Samsung filed a 337 complaint against Kodak (Certain Digital Cameras).  Now, LG has filed its own 337 complaint against Kodak.

The complaint alleges that Kodak imports into the U.S. (in addition to sale for importation into the U.S. and/or sale within the U.S. after importation) electronic devices having image capture or display functionality that infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,995,767, 5,774,131, and 6,281,895.  According to the complaint, the ‘767 patent discloses “a method and apparatus for automatic focus controlling of a camera,” the ‘131 patent discloses “a sound generation and display control apparatus,” and the ‘895 patent discloses “an apparatus and method for implementing an on-screen display (OSD) menu for an image display device.”

Three different Kodak models are accused of infringement and LG alleges that all of these models are made outside the U.S, specifically in China.  According to the complaint, LG may accuse additional Kodak models of infringement as discovery progresses.

LG alleges that it pioneered the world’s first CDMA digital mobile handsets in 1997, and its R&D related to those devices led to the technology at issue in its complaint and provide the basis for its domestic industry.  Specifically, it alleges that it satisfies the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement because the inventions claimed in the asserted patents are practiced by LG-branded wireless telephone handsets containing digital cameras that are developed and sold by LG in the U.S.

LG notes that, contemporaneously with the filing of its complaint, it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California asserting that Kodak infringes the same three patents, and that it filed suit in that same court alleging that Kodak infringes two additional patents (U.S. patent nos. 5,077,612 and 6,885,407).