On June 23, 2009, Lutron Electronics Co. (“Lutron”) of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to section 337.

The complaint alleges that Neptun Light, Inc. (“Neptun”) of Lake Bluff, Illinois unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, or sells within the U.S. after importation certain lighting control devices and parts thereof that infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,637,930 (“the ‘930 patent”).

According to the complaint, the ‘930 patent relates generally to a dimmer switch “that provided for, among other things, the switching control to be sized and arranged relative to the dimming control so that the switching function is emphasized over the dimming function from the perspective of the user.”  In the complaint, Lutron alleges that Neptun’s dimmer switches under at least the brand name Apollo infringe the ‘930 patent.

Lutron alleges that it satisfies the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement because the invention claimed in the ‘930 patent is practiced by the Maestro® and RadioRA® dimmer switches sold by Lutron.  Lutron also alleges that it satisfies the economic prong based on “significant investments in plant and equipment devoted to developing, manufacturing and testing” of lighting control devices that employ the technology covered by the ‘930 patent, “significant employment of labor and capital” involved in the domestic production of those devices, and “substantial investments in the United States in engineering and research and development related to existing and future” devices that exploit the ‘930 patent.

According to the complaint, the ‘930 patent has been the subject of the following related litigations:  Investigation No. 337-TA-676 based on a complaint filed by Lutron against Universal Smart Electric Corp. (currently pending) (for more on this matter, see our April 9 and May 8 posts); Investigation No. 337-TA-599 based on a complaint filed by Lutron against Leviton Mfg. Co., Inc. (terminated based on settlement); Lutron Elec. Co., Inc. v. Leviton Mfg. Co., Inc., C. A. No. 9:07-CV-43 (E.D. Tex.) (dismissed based on settlement); and Lutron Elec. Co., Inc. v. Cooper Indus., Ltd., C. A. No. 2:03-CV-3479 (E.D. Pa.) (dismissed based on settlement).