By John Presper

On August 27, 2021, the ITC issued a Notice of Investigation in Certain Smart Thermostats, Load Control Switches, and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1277).

By way of background, this investigation is based on a July 28, 2021 complaint (as amended) filed by Causam Enterprises, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina (“Causam”) alleging a violation of section 337 by Respondents Alarm.com Holdings, Inc. of Tysons, Virginia; Alarm.com of Tysons, Virginia; Ecobee, Inc. of Toronto, Canada; EnergyHub, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York; Itron, Inc. of Liberty Lake, Washington; Itron Distributed Energy Management, Inc. of Liberty Lake, Washington; Resideo Smart Homes Technology (Tianjin) of China; Resideo Technologies, Inc. of Austin, Texas; and Xylem Inc. of Rye Brook, New York (collectively, “Respondents”) in the unlawful importation and/or sale in the U.S. of certain smart thermostats, load control switches, and components thereof by reason of infringement of one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,805,552; 9,678,522; 10,394,268; and 10,396,592.

According to the complaint, the asserted patents relate to the use of a client device to manage electric power on an electric power grid.  The accused products are Respondents’ smart thermostats and load control switches with “Demand Response” functionality (which operates by incentivizing customers, through discounts on utility bills, to voluntarily reduce their power consumption during peak demand periods).  Causam is requesting that the Commission issue limited exclusion orders and permanent cease-and-desist orders directed to Respondents.  According to the Notice of Investigation, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations will not participate as a party in the investigation.  Lastly, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice indicating that ALJ David P. Shaw will preside in the investigation.