By Eric Schweibenz
On December 21, 2012, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued a notice and order in Certain Devices for Improving Uniformity Used in a Backlight Module and Components Thereof and Products Containing Same (337-TA-805).  In the notice, the Commission determined to review ALJ Theodore R. Essex’s October 22, 2012 initial determination (“ID”) which found no violation of Section 337.  Further, the Commission issued an order remanding-in-part the investigation back to ALJ Essex.

By way of background, the Complainants in this matter are Industrial Technology Research Institute and ITRI International, Inc. (collectively, “ITRI”) and the Respondents are LG Corporation, LG Electronics, Inc., and LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. (collectively, “LG”).  ITRI alleged that LG violated Section 337 by the importation and/or sale of LCD televisions and monitors that infringed claims 6, 9, and 10 of U.S. Patent No. 6,883,932 (the ‘932 patent).  The subject matter of the ‘932 patent is an apparatus for improving uniformity used in backlight modules using light sources, a reflective housing, and at least one structured arc sheet.  See our September 12, 2011 post for more details.

In his October 22, 2012 ID, ALJ Essex determined that LG’s accused products do not infringe the asserted claims of the ‘932 patent – either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents – because the accused products failed to meet the “structured arc sheet” limitation of independent claim 6.  Additionally, ALJ Essex found that ITRI’s domestic industry product does not satisfy the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement.  Based on his finding of no infringement and no domestic industry, ALJ Essex did not reach the issues of invalidity and unenforceability.  See our November 6, 2012 post for more details.

According to the December 21, 2012 notice, the Commission has determined to review the “final ID in its entirety” and remand-in-part the investigation.  According to the accompanying order, the Commission remanded-in-part the investigation back to ALJ Essex to consider the parties’ invalidity and unenforceability arguments and make appropriate findings.  The Commission did not seek further briefing.  Specifically, the Commission held that briefings, if any, will await Commission consideration of ALJ Essex’s final initial remand determination.