The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain IoT devices and components thereof (IOT, the Internet of Things) – web applications displayed on a web browser. The products at issue in the investigation are electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets with certain types of web applications that can be used to perform commercial transactions over the Internet.
The investigation is based on an amended complaint filed by Lakshmi Arunachalam, Ph.D., and WebXchange, Inc., both of Menlo Park, CA, on November 7, 2017. The amended complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain IOT devices and components thereof that infringe a patent asserted by the complainants. The complainants request that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.
The USITC has identified the following as the respondent in this investigation:
Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA;
Facebook, Inc., of Menlo Park, CA;
Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ; and
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1094), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.
The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.