By John Presper

On May 13, 2022, the ITC issued its opinion denying Respondent The Chamberlain Group, Inc.’s (“Chamberlain”) motion to deny a stay of the remedial orders pending appeal in Certain Movable Barrier Operator Systems and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1209).

By way of background, this investigation was instituted on August 10, 2020 based on a complaint by Overhead Door Corporation of Lewisville, Texas and GMI Holdings Inc. of Mount Hope, Ohio (collectively, “Complainants”) alleging violations of section 337 by Chamberlain due to the unlawful importation/sale of Certain movable barrier operator systems that infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 8,970,345 (“the ’345 patent”); 7,173,516 (“the ’516 patent”); 7,180,260 (“the ’260 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 9,483,935 (“the ’935 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 7,956,718 (“the ’718 patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 8,410,895 (“the ’895 patent”).  The asserted patents generally relate generally to remotely controlled barrier operator systems for opening and closing garage doors and gates.  The accused products are the LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Raynor, and Craftsman brand garage door systems that include barrier operators, garage door operators, commercial barrier operators, and gate operators that include a transmitter and receiver.  On October 13, 2021, ALJ David P. Shaw issued a final initial determination (“FID”) finding that (1) the asserted claims of all five patents-in-suit are infringed by Chamberlain’s accused products and redesigned products; (2) the domestic industry products practice the asserted patents; and (3) the asserted patents are not invalid under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101, 102, or 103.  The ALJ also issued a recommended determination (“RD”) recommending that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order (“LEO”) and cease-and-desist order (“CDO”).  See our October 26, 2021 post for more details regarding the FID/RD.

On February 9, 2022, the Commission issued a final determination (“FD”) finding a violation of section 337 based on Chamberlain’s infringement of the asserted claims of the ’935 patent, the ’718 patent, and the ’895 patent, but not the ’345 and ’260 patents.  The Commission further determined to issue an LEO and CDO against Chamberlain, and set a bond of 100%.  See our February 11, 2022 post for more details regarding the FD.

According to the opinion, following a motion for clarification filed by Complainants, the Commission issued a modified opinion and modified remedial orders on March 30, 2022 to confirm that the definition of covered products or articles in the LEO and CDO includes garage door openers, gate operators, and commercial operators.  On April 12, 2022, Chamberlain filed a notice of appeal to the Federal Circuit and a motion to stay the remedial orders pending appeal.  In its motion to stay, Chamberlain argued to the Commission that the scope of the investigation and remedial orders improperly included gate operators and commercial operators.  Applying the Federal Circuit’s Standard Havens test, the Commission denied the motion to stay the remedial orders.  The Commission’s opinion is largely based on its finding that “Chamberlain tactically forfeited arguments that it could have raised but chose not to in the violation investigation.”  Specifically, the Commission noted that (1) in addition to garage door openers, the complaint identified sixteen gate operators and four commercial operators as accused products; (2) the parties litigated infringement with respect to gate operators and commercial operators, and Chamberlain provided extensive discovery relating to those products; (3) Chamberlain filed a motion in limine to exclude testimony related to gate operators on the basis that they are outside the scope of the investigation, which ALJ David P. Shaw denied; (4) Chamberlain disputed Complainants’ definition of accused products for including gate operators and commercial operators in its post-hearing brief, which the ALJ rejected in his FID; (5) notably, Chamberlain did not petition for Commission review of the ALJ’s findings that gate operators and commercial operators are included in the definition of the accused products and/or within the scope of the investigation and, therefore, Chamberlain forfeited those arguments pursuant to Commission Rule 210.43(b)(2); (6) at the remedy briefing stage, Chamberlain argued that the public interest weighed against the exclusion of garage door openers, gate operators, and commercial operators; (7) at the remedy briefing stage, Chamberlain’s customers raised similar arguments; and (8) the Commission confirmed in its FD that the accused products include garage door openers, gate operators, and commercial operators, finding them to infringe claims 1, 4, 16, and 19 of the ’935 patent, and considered gate operators and commercial operators in its public interest and bond analyses.  Accordingly, the motion to stay was denied.