It's been a busy week at the International Trade Commission, with four new, high-stakes intellectual property complaints filed in the last four days. Considering just 25 other cases have been filed all year, it's a quite a glut.
On Dec. 1, Samsung Electronics sued Sharp Electronics Corp. for infringing its patents related to liquid crystal display devices used in televisions. Fish & Richardson partner Ruffin Cordell filed the suit.
Samsung on Dec. 2 also sued Sharp in federal court in Wilmington, Del. over the same patents. Typically, federal court cases are stayed pending a determination from the ITC. The ITC can ban the import of infringing products, while federal courts can award cash damages for past infringement.
The two companies have fought over LCD technology for several years both at the ITC and in Japanese courts.
Sharp sued Samsung at the ITC in 2008, alleging that Samsung infringed four other patents related to LCD devices used in televisions and computer monitors. Sharp won, and last month, the ITC commissioners issued an exclusion order banning the infringing Samsung products. In that case, Sharp was represented by Morrison & Foerester, while Fish & Richardson represented Samsung.
Also on Dec. 1, semiconductor maker Analog Devices Inc. filed suit at the ITC against Knowles Electronics of Itasca, Ill. and Mouser Electronics of Mansfield, Texas over surface mount MEMS microphones and products.
Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg name partner Tom Schaumberg filed suit on behalf Analog Devices, which had revenue of $2 billion in FY 2009 and is based in Norwood, Mass.
According to an article earlier this year in Electronic Design, MEMS microphones are used in mobile phones and notebooks but “scads of new applications for these microphones will soon emerge. These include handsets, headsets, voice recorders, camcorders, laptops for Voice-over-IP (VoIP) uses, digital cameras, MP3 players, and interactive games.”
Next on the ITC docket is a case filed on Dec. 2 by Nebraska-based Prism Technologies against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion over authentication systems related to its handheld electronic devices and associated software.
Robert Walters of McDermott, Will & Emery represents Prism, which is privately held and owns patents dealing with Internet security and e-commerce.
Related litigation between the companies is also pending in federal court in Nebraska. RIM has faced more than its share of patent problems – the firm in 2006 shelled out $612.5 million to settle a case brought by NTP in Richmond, Va. federal court.
Also on Dec. 2, Taiwan-based semiconductor maker Richtek Technology Corp. sued uPI Semiconductor Corp. of Taiwan; Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Sapphire Technology Limited of Hong Kong; Diamond Multimedia, Inc. of Chatsworth, Calif.; and XFX Technology, Inc. of Ontario, Calif.. At issue: patent rights for DC DC controllers.
Paul Brinkman of Alston & Bird represents Richtek.