On May 28, 2009, Cognex Corp. of Natick, Massachusetts and Cognex Technology & Investment Corp. of Mountain View, California (collectively “Cognex”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following proposed respondents unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, or sell within the U.S. after importation certain machine vision software, machine vision systems, and products containing same that infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,016,539 (the “‘539 Patent”); 7,065,262 (the “‘262 Patent”); and 6,959,112 (the “‘112 Patent”):

  • MVTec Software GmbH of Germany;

  • MVTec LLC of Cambridge, Massachusetts;

  • E. Zoller GmbH & Co. KG of Germany;

  • Zoller Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan;

  • Fuji Machine Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of Japan;

  • Fuji America Corp. of Vernon Hills, Illinois;

  • Omron Corp. of Japan;

  • Resolution Technology, Inc. of Dublin, Ohio;

  • Subtechnique, Inc. of Alexandria, Virginia; and

  • Visics Corp. of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

According to the complaint, all of the patents-in-suit relate generally to machine vision systems which typically include “sophisticated image analysis software and high-speed, suitable computers or processors (vision processor boards) which, when connected to a camera, interpret the captured images and generate information about them.”  Specifically, “the ‘539 Patent and the ‘262 Patent relate to identifying an object and determining the object’s ‘pose’ in the image using so-called geometric matching.”  Further, the “‘112 Patent relates to a method for determining the presence of an object of interest in an image when a portion of the object falls outside the boundary of the image, as sometimes occurs.”

In the complaint, Cognex alleges that proposed respondent MVTec’s "HALCON" machine vision software and systems infringe the asserted patents.  Cognex further alleges that machine vision systems and products made abroad by equipment manufacturers, such as Zoller GmbH, Fuji Machine Manufacturing Co., Ltd, and Omron Corp. incorporate the infringing MVTec machine vision software and/or machine vision systems, and are then imported, sold for importation, and/or sold after importation to U.S. customers.  Cognex also alleges that MVTec sells for importation and/or sells after importation its machine vision software and systems to U.S. entities such as Resolution Technology, Inc., Subtechnique, Inc, or Visics Corp. that incorporate such software and systems into U.S. manufacturing equipment.

Cognex alleges that it satisfies the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement because the inventions claimed in the asserted patents are practiced by modular machine vision systems designed and developed by Cognex’s Modular Vision Systems Division.  Cognex also alleges that it satisfies the economic prong based on “significant manufacturing-related and integration operations in the United States involving the asserted patents” as well as “substantial investments in research, development and engineering relating to the patents-in-suit.”