Tag: ITC

Cisco has another victory against Arista

the Cisco kidCisco’s long running court battle against Arista appears to be going the networking giant’s way.

A US trade judge ruled that Arista used Cisco’s network device technology in its ethernet switches without permission.

Judge Mary Joan McNamara of the US International Trade Commission in Washington, said that Arista had infringed two patents owned by Cisco. The ruling could lead to an order banning the import of Arista’s products into the United States.

Cisco filed the complaint at the ITC in December 2014, alleging that Arista was infringing six of its patents, which relate to improving the speed and performance of networked computers and devices.

The products accused of infringement include Arista’s 7000 series of switches, which generate most of that company’s revenues.

Arista general counsel Marc Taxay said the company looks forward to presenting its case to the full commission as it strongly believes that its products do not infringe any of the patents under investigation.

Cisco’s general counsel, Mark Chandler, said: “Our goal has always been to protect technological innovation, and stop Arista from using our patented technology.”

In June, the ITC ordered an import ban on Arista’s products that infringed several other Cisco patents.

The US Trade Representative allowed that order to go ahead in August, but US customs officials last month ruled that Arista could resume imports of its redesigned switches because they were not within the scope of the ban.

There is a trial currently underway in California, where Arista is defending against claims of copyright and patent infringement brought by Cisco.


Arista Networks loses appeal against Cisco’s trade ban

the Cisco kidThe U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)  has upheld an import ban on Arista Networks ethernet switches which it thinks infringe Cisco’s patents.

The decision follows a complaint from  Cisco filed in December 2014 about the switches, which are used in computer data centres and servers.

In a blog post on the company’s website on Monday, Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler said the import ban was to start on Tuesday. The ITC said Arista infringed three Cisco patents relating to managing and securing communications networks. The ruling excludes the import of Arista’s network devices, including its 7000 series of switches, which generates most of that company’s product revenue. It also prevents the sale of domestic supplies of the imported products.

Arista’s general counsel, Marc Taxay, said the company has redesigned the software in its switches and believes it is in “full compliance” with the ITC’s orders.

“Our primary focus remains the continued supply of non-infringing products to our customers,” he said.

Arista also said it would appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Arista has not received approval from the ITC for the redesigned products.


Nvidia absorbed Samsung patents

nvidiaNvidia has been found guilty of infringing on some of Samsung’s patent related to graphics technology.

The GPU maker is having a bit of trouble in the courts lately as the ITC also ruled that neither Samsung nor Qualcomm infringed on Nvidia’s own patents.

The ITC could impose an import ban against Nvidia’s products, although it is more likely that all sides will settle before a full review of the case by the commission.

The patent case brought by Samsung against Nvidia was a retaliation against Nvidia’s own lawsuit against Samsung when it filed a lawsuit against it and Qualcomm for infringing on its graphics technology patents.

The PR portrayed Nvidia as an underdog who has never before sued anyone on this topic. More cynical observers suggested it was an attempt to squeeze out what it can from its dwindling profits on mobile.

Samsung countersued claiming that Nvidia was the one actually infringing on the Korean manufacturer’s patents. It demanded an injunction to have Nvidia ‘s mobile products, and any related accessories in the lawsuit, banned from sales in the US.

Nvidia claims that the patents used by Samsung in its lawsuit against Nvidia were almost ancient and no longer used by modern mobile chips. The chip maker said it will appeal the ruling, but this could backfire as the ITC might just opt for a ban.

SOPA is back from the dead

zombieAmericans who believed that they managed to kill off the SOPA anti-piracy bill with a little thing called democracy might be disappointed to know that the legal system is about to bring it in anyway.

The US Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in ClearCorrect Operating against the International Trade Commission. It could give a federal agency the power to force ISPs to block websites which would by rights give Big Content the power to shut down any website it likes.

It was one of the provisions of the SOPA bill and apparently the Motion Picture Association of America never gave up on it.

SOPA as originally introduced included a provision allowing the Department of Justice to obtain court orders requiring ISPs to block their customers from accessing foreign websites deemed to be pirate sites.

A leaked MPAA memo suggests Big Content would seek to obtain the same sorts of orders against ISPs, simply using the International Trade Commission rather than the DOJ.”

The ClearCorrect case is about a 3D printing model file for invisible braces. ClearCorrect had a subsidiary in Pakistan create 3D models of braces, which it then sent from Pakistan to the US over the internet. ClearCorrect then 3D printed the braces in its Texas offices, a move that might infringe Invisalign patents.

Align Technologies, the parent company of Invisalign, went to the International Trade Commission (ITC), a federal agency that deals with imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights, such as shipments of fake Louis Vuitton shoes or knock off pharmaceuticals.

Since no physical goods came over the US border and a digital file was transported over the internet. Last year, the ITC determined that it had the legal authority, under a tariff law from 1930, to stop the transmission of infringing digital files.

This means that Big Content can include digital files in any complaints and order any pirate site banned from the US.

If ClearCorrect loses at the Federal Circuit, intellectual property owners, given its speed and powerful remedies, and those with cases involving digital downloads will head to the ITC for their takedown notices.

The leaked MPAA memo from 2014 advises, “[S]eeking a site-blocking order in the ITC would appear to offer a number of advantages over federal court litigation, at least at first blush.”

Because the ITC is an agency, not a federal court, it has different procedural rules that could greatly benefit rights-holders.

The Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in ClearCorrect on August 11.

Obama to target patent trolls

US President Barack Obama might not be the strapping young Muslim socialist he used to be, but he still seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve.

According to the Wall Street Journal, he is planning to take executive action against patent trolls. 

Since the US Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business, it can’t be counted upon to reign in money men and their shady practices, so Obama will reportedly instruct the USPTO to start coming up with new rules that should curb abuses. 

The WSJ says Obama will announce five executive actions and seven legislative proposals tomorrow. It is not a surprising move, as Obama has already made it clear that he believes the US patent system is badly broken and in need of an urgent fix. 

One of his ideas is apparently aimed at stripping the International Trade Commission of some of its powers. The ITC has been embroiled in a series of patent disputes, with high profile names seeking import bans on competing products based on relatively vague claims that rarely stand up in court. 

Rambus loses patent suit against LSI and STMicroelectronics

Rambus has lost a suit against chip makers LSI and STMicroelectronics. The company, which sometimes faces accusations of being a patent troll, was dealt a blow after the US International Trade Commission ruled that the pair did not infringe on any of the company’s patents.

Rambus went after the chip makers claiming that they had infringed on patents relating to
chipset communication and controlling of memory and digital transmitters.

However, the ITC stood up to the company and said that some patents were unenforceable. It has now terminated the investigation, which is sure to be a bitter pill to swallow.

The battle began back in December 2010 when Rambus went on a suing spree – filing patent infringement suits left, right and centre. In its firing line were Freescale, Broadcom, MediaTek and Nvidia, which were forced to settle and sign licence agreement deals.

However, the ITC didn’t make a judgement on LSI and STMicroelectronics, which continued fighting until yesterday.

Rambus isn’t one to shy away from the courts, however as of late judges have put a stop on its success. Back in November it lost a costly  $3.95 billion jury trial over its allegations that Micron and Hynix Semiconductor conspired to revent its memory chips from becoming an industry standard.

At the time its shares fell from $14 to $4.

US Congress considers cutting ITC's power

The US government has finally worked out that the power of the International Trade Commission to stop trade shipments is causing too much trouble in trademark trolling disputes.

The International Trade Commission was created to protect US companies from unfair foreign competition but it is proving an attractive venue for the high-tech patent wars over smartphones, chips and Blu-Ray devices becauseit is the best way to ban imports that infringe patents.

According to Reuters, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, in a hearing on Wednesday, heard how the system was being used to squeese cash out of companies because a mere threat of a sales ban is a potent reason to settle.

District courts have to meet a higher standard to ban infringing products, other than the Republic of Texas, of course.

The hearing is the second to discuss the ITC in a week. The Senate Judiciary Committee was to discuss whether companies should ask for sales bans because they infringed patents seen as “essential” to a product.

Yesterday’s hearing focused more on patent trolls. It is starting to look like there is a consensus in Washington to tackle the trolls.

A California Republican Darrell Issa said that it was silly that the system allowed everyone to be sued twice. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat said that the industry was being shaken down through the ITC.

Ford Global Technologies and Cisco Systems told lawmakers that an ITC case, and the related threat of an import ban, cost companies millions to fight off.

Neal Rubin, vice president of litigation for Cisco, said that it doubles or triples its costs to fight in a district court and the ITC.

Bert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute testified that the only way to deal with the problem is to take up the issue of standard essential patents.

Different groups have varying rules governing the obligations of companies that hold patents essential to a standard. Most require broad licensing at reasonable rates and there has been talk of requiring holders to agree to give up the right to seek exclusion orders. 

Freescale embarks on patent rampage

Freescale is furious at Taiwan’s MediaTek, among others, and is filing patent infringement complaints with the US ITC.

Freescale thinks MediaTek infringed on its integrated circuits and chipsets for TVs. Along with MediaTek, Freescale also has Zoran, Taiwan’s Top Victory Electronics and AmTran Technology in its crosshairs, along with others in Japan and South Korea. 

The company is demanding an investigation into the alleged patent infringements. If Freescale gets its way, the accused will see any of their products banned from the US market.

MediaTek rebutted by telling the Taipei Times this is simply another attack from the US company in an ongoing patent war between the two. CFO David Ku said Freescale’s move won’t have an immediate impact.

Freescale has accused MediaTek and Zoran of patent infringement before, reports EE Times,  which thinks the companies involved will have plenty of time to get their cases together.

The last time Freescale went on the warpath against the two was in July, and that filing has a target date of late 2012. 

HTC's S3 appeals pro-Apple ITC ruling

Taiwan’s popular maker of smartphones, HTC, is appealing an International Trade Commission ruling which favours Apple over its new subsidiary S3 Graphics.

The patent spat, running concurrently against Apple and Samsung’s ongoing battle, threatens HTC’s lucrative smartphone business. S3 graphics, which it has just bought, did win a ruling against Apple’s Mac OS X system infringing on two texture compression patents.

It’s not quite enough to bolster HTC in its fight. Claims that iOS, running on the iPhone and iPad, infringed on S3 patents were thrown out of court – and it’s this which HTC believes is crucial to giving it a leg up. 

Our friend Florian Mueller has updated his Apple vs HTC and S3 battlemap, here. He tells us: “It’s the normal course of business that parties appeal part of or all of an initial determination.”

“In HTC’s case,” he continues, “the ITC decision is of fairly limited impact if it only affects the Macintosh business but not Apple’s mobile device, and if Apple can solve the problem even for its Macs by using Nvidia chips as Nvidia has a cross-licence agreement with S3.”

It’s another bloody business which promises it won’t be an easy ride for any of the companies in question. HTC is close to finding its smartphone business impacted, though, of course, it denies this, says the Taipei Times. The Taiwanese company has reassured customers and investors that the Evo 3D will go ahead for sale in Europe, amid reports that it will be blocked as a result of Apple’s persistent disruptive behaviour. 

Apple really is going in all guns blazing to make sure it has an edge on the competitors doing their very best to bite at its heels. HTC has publicly said that it’s ready to fight to the bitter end. 

Freescale kicks off at MediaTek

Freescale is going after MediaTek, among others, accusing it of infringing on TV chip patents.

Freescale first grumbled about the patent infringement back in June, when it pointed the finger at MediaTek, Zoran and Funai at the ITC and a district court in Texas.

At the time, it asked the ITC to issue an exclusion order, as well as cease and desists against infringing ICs, chip sets and TVs containing them.  The patent in question was issued in 1995 for technology to reduce unwanted signals between integrated circuits.

After much consideration, the ITC thought Freescale had a case because it has agreed to review the claims.

MediaTek, which according to the Taiwan Economic News depends on TV chips for 10-15 percent of its revenue, is of course no stranger to patent law accusations. In May it played nicely with Mosaid Technologies and signed an agreement for licensing. 

However, it has also been on the receiving end of accusations from Rambus. Haven’t we all?

A spokesperson for MediaTek told Taiwanese press that it’s aware of the finger pointing from Freescale. She laid to rest some industry views that this will affect MediaTek`s TV-chip business in the US.

The ITC has said it will deliver the verdict within 45 days of investigation.