|Samsung Accused Of Infringing Tessera Chip Patents At ITC|
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Law360, New York (October 3, 2017, 8:39 PM EDT) -- The U.S. International Trade Commission announced Tuesday that Tessera Advanced Technologies Inc. requested an investigation of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s alleged infringement of two semiconductor patents, as well as the exclusion of infringing products and a prohibition on related commercial activity.
Bringing claims Thursday under the Tariff Act, Tessera, a subsidiary of tech giant Xperi Corp., asked the ITC to exclude infringing wafer-level packaged semiconductor devices and products containing them, such as the power management IC chips used in Samsung's flagship Galaxy and Note smartphones, as well as issue cease-and-desist orders barring commercial activity linked to those infringing products.
The commission consequently invited members of the public to file comments on the proceedings, in particular as they related to the public interest, products that could replace the infringing products if excluded and whether competitors had the ability to meet the volume of demand for such products.
"[Tessera] believe[s] that these exemplary Samsung products are representative of many other Samsung products imported, sold for importation, and/or sold in the United States after importation by Samsung that feature the same or substantially similar infringing functionality as the exemplary accused products," the complaint states.
The patents relate to semiconductor wafer-level packaging, or WLP, which is the process of packaging semiconductor chips before a wafer is divided into separate chips, reducing the package size. WLP will "enable the next generation of semiconductor devices" and "driv[e] the modern computing, telecommunications and information revolution," according to the complaint.
The patents specifically cover "improvement in chip reliability" by way of WLP, Tessera said.
Tessera named Samsung's phones in its Thursday complaint, but acknowledged that other cellular phones, tablets, notebooks and cameras might be found to infringe the patents during the discovery phase of the investigation. Tessera alleged that Samsung knew of its patents since at least May 2016, when Tessera presented its WLP technology to Samsung and explained how the company was infringing them.
"By continuing its actions, Samsung has had the specific intent to induct, or was willfully blind of inducing infringement of the patent," the complaint states.
Tessera claimed that it had established a domestic industry around the patents as evidenced by its hefty investment in dedicated manufacturing equipment, personnel, research, development, application engineering and licensing. Its licensee Micron Technology Inc. invested $1.62 billion in research and development in 2016, in part dedicated to the technology covered by the patents, Tessera alleged.
In May 2016, Tessera also accused Broadcom Corp. of infringing one of the patents at issue in Delaware federal court, prompting Broadcom to ask the Patent Trial and Appeals Board for inter partes review of the patent. Tessera further accused Samsung of infringing both patents in New Jersey federal court at the same time that it filed its ITC complaint.
Tessera additionally prevailed in defending a different semiconductor patent at the ITC against Broadcom when an administrative law judge found in July that a wide range of Broadcom products imported to the U.S. infringed, recommending standard remedies preventing the company from continuing to do so.
The patents in the investigation are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,954,001 and 6,784,557.
Counsel for Tessera and a representative for Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Tessera is represented by Matthew Moore, Maximilian Grant, Bert Reiser, Charles Sanders and Michael David of Latham & Watkins LLP.
Counsel information for Samsung was not available Tuesday.
The case is In the Matter of Certain Wafer-Level Packaging Semiconductor Devices and Products Containing the Same (Including Cellular Phones, Tablets, Laptops and Notebooks) and Components Thereof, case number 337-3262, in the U.S. International Trade Commission.
--Editing by Katherine Rautenberg