US ITC institutes investigation against Amazon, Samsung and others

13 technology companies and their subsidiaries have been named as respondents in the investigation

The U.S. International Trade Commission said Tuesday it had instituted an investigation into wireless consumer electronics devices and components thereof of 13 top technology companies and their subsidiaries, including Samsung, Acer, and Nintendo, for alleged infringement of a patent.

The companies are alleged to have infringed certain claims of U.S. Patent no. 5,809,336, entitled "High performance microprocessor having variable speed system clock" in a complaint filed before the ITC in July by three companies in California. The patent is assigned to one of the complainants Patriot Scientific which describes itself on its website as an intellectual-property licensing company.

The companies identified as respondents by the ITC include Acer, Samsung, Nintendo, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Garmin, HTC, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Kyocera, LG and others.

The products at issue in the investigation are consumer electronic devices with wireless capabilities, such as electronic tablets, smartphones, e-readers, mobile hotspots, broadband wireless modems, and handheld game consoles, ITC said.

The complainants, Technology Properties, Phoenix Digital Solutions, and Patriot Scientific call on the commission to "issue an exclusion order and cease and desist orders" on the wireless devices and components in question, the ITC said.

By instituting the investigation, ITC said it has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be assigned to an administrative law judge who will hold an evidentiary hearing and make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337, which is subject to review by the Commission.

The ITC is expected to set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days of launch of investigation.

Section 337 investigations conducted by the ITC most often involve claims regarding intellectual property rights, including allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.

Patriot said in July that it also filed a complaint against the 13 companies in a District Court in California, that aimed among other things to seek damages for past infringements including unpaid royalties and accrued interest. The Carlsbad, California, company claims a number of companies have licensed the Moore Microprocessor Patent portfolio, which it jointly owns with Technology Properties.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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