ITC
By Philippe Signore
| October 25, 2020
About 12 years ago, in 2002, I co-authored an article entitled “U.S. Design Patents: an underdog that bites.” The article announced a coming-out stage for design patents:

Companies often seek broad protection for their products and technology, along with strong enforcement provisions, preferably available at a relatively low cost and via a relatively fast procedure. In the past, however, companies have often overlooked a tool that can provide such protection: the US design patent. Instead, companies have focused on trade dress protection and utility patents. In many companies, the trade mark department considered design patents to add little to trade dress protection, while the patent department considered them an inadequate tool to protect their functional inventions. As a result, design patents often fell through the cracks.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| October 25, 2020
On October 24, 2012, the ITC issued an "Initial Determination on Violation of Section 337," in Inv. No. 337-TA-796.  In this case, Apple alleged Samsung had imported various infringing devices (smartphones and tablets) into the U.S. 

In summary, ALJ Tomas B. Pender determined that a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 has been found in connection with several utility patents and U.S. Design Patent No. D618,678 (Fig. 1 of which is reproduced below).  ALJ Pender also concluded that this patent is not invalid.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| October 25, 2020
As reported in the ITC Blog, on August 2, 2011, the ITC instituted an investigation concerning Samsung's alleged infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,479,949, RE 41,922, 7,863,533, 7,789,697, 7,912,501, D558,757 and D618,678.  This investigation is the result of a complaint filed on July 5, 2011, and a supplemental letter filed on July 22, 2011, by Apple.

Figs. 1 and 2 of U.S. D558,757 (left) and D618,678 (right) are reproduced below.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| October 25, 2020
As reported in the ITC blog, Apple filed an ITC complaint against Samsung on July 8, 2011, alleging certain portable electronic devices and related software infringe claims of U.S. 7,844,915, 7,469,381, 7,084,859, 7,920,129 and 6,956,564.  This ITC complaint follows the ITC complaint Samsung filed against Apple on June 28, 2011.  As in that complaint, this complaint also presumably relates to the ongoing dispute we have been covering between Samsung and Apple.




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By Marc Albert Robinson
| October 25, 2020
The Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet has scheduled a Hearing on H.R. 2511, the "Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act," [IDPPPA] for Friday 7/15/2011 at 10:00 A.M.

We previously posted on the IDPPPA and we will post a follow-up on Friday with details of the Hearing.


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By Colin Harris
| October 25, 2020
As reported on Oblon’s ITC blog, the U.S. International Trade Commission  (“ITC”) has instituted an investigation in response to a complaint filed by Otter Products, LLC alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain protective cases and components thereof that infringe certain U.S. patents and trademarks.  The complaint identifies twenty-nine respondents, including Alibaba.com and other Chinese and American companies.

The asserted design patents are U.S. Design Patent Nos. D600,908, D617,784, D615,536, D617,785, D634,741, and D636,386.  According to the complaint, these design patents “protect the ornamental features of Otter Products’ unique protective case designs for handheld electronic devices, including smart phones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices.”  Some of the figures from these patents are reproduced below.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| October 25, 2020
Chrysler’s ITC Complaint alleging Design Patent Infringement of a Concept Vehicle Results in Settlement, Cease and Desist Orders and Limited Exclusion Orders

See our posting on the ITC 337 Law Blog of March 16, 2011.


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By Colin Harris
| October 25, 2020
As reported on Oblon, Spivak’s ITC Blog, Boston Beer Corporation (“Boston Beer”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

Boston Beer, which is a subsidiary of the brewer of Samuel Adams beer, alleges that 1 Source Signature Glassware, Inc., di Sciacca Co., and San Tan Brewing Co. (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) — all of Chandler, Arizona — unlawfully import into the U.S. and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain glassware that infringes U.S. Patent Nos. D582,213 and D569,189 (collectively, the “asserted patents”).


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By Andrew M. Ollis
| October 25, 2020
As reported by Oblon Spivak’s ITC Blog, the ITC has instituted an investigation in response to a complaint asserting design patent rights for a solar-powered light post and street lamp design. The complainants, a set of New York, New York companies referred to as the Duggal companies, assert U.S. Patent No. D610,732 S (“the ‘732 patent”) for a Wind and Solar-Powered Light Post. The respondents are Gus Power Incorporated of Canada; Efston Science Inc. of Canada; King Luminaire, Inc., of Jefferson, OH; and The StressCrete Group of Canada. The complainants allege that the accused products are “substantially similar to,” or “virtually identical to,” the design protected by the ‘732 patent, citing specific incidences of alleged infringement. No other patents are asserted in the complaint.

The statute in 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(1)(B)(i)-(ii) makes no distinction between utility and design patents, but gives the ITC jurisdiction over any patent infringement meeting the other requirements of Section 337. In this case, the complainants report in their complaint that they have no other current litigation related to the ‘732 patent, thus resting the enforcement of their design patent rights on their requests to the ITC for an exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order.


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