• ITC to Review Initial Determination in Certain Semiconductor Chips (337-TA-661)
  • April 7, 2010 | Authors: John F. Presper; Eric W. Schweibenz
  • Law Firm: Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, L.L.P. - Alexandria Office
  • On March 25, 2010, the ITC issued a notice that it determined to review in part ALJ Theodore R. Essex’s Initial Determination (“ID”) finding that Respondents violated Section 337 in Certain Semiconductor Chips Having Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory Controllers and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-661).

    By way of background, the Complainant in this investigation is Rambus Inc. (“Rambus”) and the respondents are NVIDIA Corp. (“NVIDIA”); Asustek Computer Inc.; ASUS Computer International, Inc.; BFG Technologies, Inc.; Biostar Microtech (U.S.A.) Corp.; Biostar Microtech International Corp.; Diablotek Inc.; EVGA Corp.; G.B.T. Inc.; Giga-byte Technology Co., Ltd.; Hewlett-Packard Co.; MSI Computer Corp.; Micro-star International Co., Ltd.; Palit Multimedia Inc.; Palit Microsystems Ltd.; Pine Technology Holdings, Ltd.; and Sparkle Computer Co., Ltd (collectively, “Respondents”).  In his ID issued on January 22, 2010, ALJ Essex found a violation of Section 337 by the importation, sale for importation, or sale within the U.S. after importation of certain semiconductor chips having synchronous dynamic random access memory controllers and products containing that infringed one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,470,405; 6,591,353 and 7,287,109.  The ALJ further found no infringement of the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,177,998 and 7,210,016.  See our January 25, 2010 post for more details.

    According to the notice, the ITC determined to review the ID in part, specifically (1) the anticipation and obviousness findings with respect to the Ware patents, (2) the obviousness-type double patenting analysis regarding the asserted Barth I claims, and (3) the analysis of the alleged obviousness of the asserted Barth I claims.

    Regarding the Ware patents, the ITC requested briefing on (1) the differences between the scope and content of the Coteus patent and the asserted Ware claims, (2) the appropriate skill level of one of ordinary skill in the art, and (3) whether the asserted Ware claims would have been obvious, including which claim element(s), if any, are not disclosed in the Coteus reference but would have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art.

    Regarding obviousness-type double patenting of the Barth I claims, the ITC requested briefing on whether the differences in scope of the asserted Barth I claims and the claims of the Farmwald ‘037 patent render the asserted Barth I claims patentably distinct.

    Regarding obviousness of the asserted Barth I claims, the ITC requested briefing on (1) the differences between the scope and content of the asserted prior art and the asserted Barth I claims, (2) the appropriate skill level of one or ordinary skill in the art, and (3) whether the asserted Barth I claims would have been obvious.

    According to the notice, the ITC also rejected Rambus’ petition to vacate Order No. 15 (relating to NVIDIA’s motion to compel production of materials subject to privilege piercing orders) and denied Respondents’ motion to extend the target date.