By Eric Schweibenz
On May 6, 2014, Silicon Laboratories Inc. of Austin, Texas (“Silicon Labs”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Cresta Technology Corp. of Santa Clara, California, Hauppauge Digital, Inc. of Hauppauge, New York, Hauppauge Computer Works, Inc. of Hauppauge, New York, PCTV Systems S.a.r.l. of Germany, and PCTV Systems S.a.r.l., Luxembourg of Luxembourg (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain silicon tuners and products containing same, including television tuners, that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,137,372 (the ‘372 patent) and 6,233,441 (the ‘441 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to the synthesis of high-frequency signals with improved phase noise and other impurity requirements that overcome the integration problem associated with earlier implementations.  More specifically, the asserted patents relate to the provision of coarse and fine tuning control for synthesizing high-frequency signals using a discretely variable capacitance circuit and a continuously variable capacitance circuit.

In the complaint, Silicon Labs states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to the Hauppauge! WinTV-HVR Hybrid TV Stick 950Q, model 1191, WinTV-HVR-850, model 1230, Hauppauge! PCTV HD PCI Card 800i, CrestaTech Xceive XC 5000 silicon tuner, and CrestaTech X7 silicon tuner as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Silicon Labs states that it makes extensive use of the asserted patents in numerous different products, including its Si2178 silicon television tuner.  According to the complaint, Silicon Labs’ silicon tuner products are developed in the U.S., manufactured abroad, and sold within the U.S.  Silicon Labs specifically refers to its headquarters in Austin, Texas, as well as to various additional facilities in New Hampshire, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, and Alabama.  The complaint states that substantially all of the research, development, design, engineering, and testing of the Silicon Labs products that practice the asserted patents has been done by Silicon Labs employees working within the U.S.

As to related litigation, Silicon Labs states that the asserted patents were the subject of a declaratory judgment action filed by MaxLinear Inc. on May 13, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  According to the complaint, that case was dismissed on October 21, 2013.  Silicon Labs further states that it asserted the ‘441 patent against Airoha Technology Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, but that that case was also dismissed.

With respect to potential remedy, Silicon Labs requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents and others acting on their behalf.