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Sueball-happy patent biz slaps lawsuits on FOURTEEN tech firms

Asks ITC to BAN 'infringing' kit from Samsung, Nintendo, Panasonic, LG and more

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Seven electronics companies have been caught in the sights of a massive patent infringement lawsuit from Optical Devices, which is currently attempting to get a ban on the import of devices using the allegedly infringing tech from the ITC. These include everything from storage devices and servers to TVs, console gaming systems and BluRay players from some of the biggest names in the business.

Optical Devices, LLC was created in May 2012 as a Delaware limited liability company. It has filed an annual report for 2013 which tells us nada about its business.

Here’s a partial history of some patent infringement lawsuits it has opened:

  • June 2013 - LG Electronics relating to digital servo tracking systems
  • Jan 2013 - Sharp Electronics, regarding digital servo tracking
  • April 2013 - Panasonic
  • September 2013 – Toshiba

You get the flavour.

Anyway, Optical Devices has filed a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (USITC) alleging “violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain optical disc drives, components thereof, and products containing the same that infringe patents asserted by the complainant.”

Optical Devices wants the USITC to issue a “limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders". Yep, you got that right. Ban the products.

In response the USITC says it has:

Voted to institute an investigation of certain optical disc drives, components thereof, and products containing the same. The products at issue in this investigation are certain optical disc drives for products such as desktop and laptop computers, computer storage devices, network attached storage devices, DVD and Blu-ray players/recorders, CD players, televisions, console gaming systems, and servers, and components of the drives (for example, integrated circuits and chipsets), and products containing such drives and/or components.

The affected companies – the respondents – are:

  • Lenovo Group Ltd., of Quarry Bay, Hong Kong;
  • Lenovo (United States) Inc., of Morrisville, NC;
  • LG Electronics, Inc., of Seoul, Republic of Korea;
  • LG Electronics U.S.A. Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, NJ;
  • Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan;
  • Nintendo of America, Inc., of Redmond, WA;
  • Panasonic Corp., of Osaka, Japan;
  • Panasonic Corporation of North America, of Secaucus, NJ;
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of Seoul, Republic of Korea;
  • Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ;
  • Toshiba Corporation, of Tokyo, Japan;
  • Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., of Irvine, CA;
  • MediaTek, Inc., of Hsinchu City, Taiwan; and
  • MediaTek USA Inc., of San Jose, CA.

The USITC is opening an investigation and hasn’t yet decided on the merits of the case.

InterDigital recently won a ruling from the US Supreme Court that companies whose sole business is patent litigation still qualify for the protection of the US ITC. ®

Bootnote

The US Federal Trade Commission is looking into patent trolling in the wireless communications area.

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