By Eric Schweibenz
On October 29, 2013, ALJ Thomas B. Pender issued Order No. 19 in Certain Cases For Portable Electronic Devices (Inv. No. 337-TA-861/867).

By way of background, Speculative Product Design, LLC (“Speck”) is the Complainant in this investigation and the Respondents are Body Glove, Anbess Electronics Co. Ltd., Fellowes, Inc. (“Fellowes”), ROCON Digital Technology Corp., SW-Box.com, Trait Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., Hongkong Wexun Ltd., En Jinn Industrial Co. Ltd., Shengda Huanqiu Shijie, Global Digital Star Industry, Ltd., JWIN Electronics Corp. d/b/a iLuv, Project Horizon, Inc. d/b/a InMotion Entertainment, Superior Communications, Inc. d/b/a PureGear (“Superior”), and Jie Sheng Technology.  The Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) is also a party to the investigation.  Speck has asserted U.S. Patent No. 8,204,561 (the ‘561 patent) against Respondents.  Speck alleges that its CandyShell line of phone cases, sold in the U.S., practices one or more claims of the ‘561 patent.  See our November 16, 2012, January 29, 2013, and July 9, 2013 posts for more background on this investigation.  

According to Order No. 19, Speck moved to terminate this investigation as to Superior based on withdrawal of the allegations in the complaint against Superior.  OUII supported the motion and Fellowes and Superior opposed the motion.  Superior and Fellowes argued that (i) Superior intends to restart importing the accused cases if such cases are found to not infringe, and (ii) because they divided up the invalidity case, Fellowes would be prejudiced if Superior were terminated from the investigation. 

In the Order, ALJ Pender rejected the arguments of Superior and Fellowes and granted Speck’s motion.  Specifically, ALJ Pender noted that the “fact that Superior has stopped importing the accused product during the pendency of this investigation, but intends to restart importing the accused product does not amount to extraordinary cause to deny Speck’s motion to terminate.”  ALJ Pender further determined that Fellowes would be permitted to put on Superior’s invalidity case at the evidentiary hearing and thus terminating Superior will not prejudice Fellowes.  Accordingly, ALJ Pender determined that granting Speck’s motion was in the public interest because it would conserve public and private resources, particularly by reducing the number of witnesses and shortening the length of the hearing.