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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Samsung Faces U.S. Ban On LCD TVs


Samsung should be banned from selling certain LCD-TVs and computer monitors in the U.S. after losing a patent case filed by Sharp, the U.S. International Trade Commission said.

"The U.S. International Trade Commission found a of violation of section 337, and has issued a limited exclusion order directed against products of respondents Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of Korea; Samsung Electronics America, Inc. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey; and Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. of San Jose, California; and has issued cease and desist orders against Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.," reads the ITC's official announcement.

The Commission instituted an investigation on March 4, 2008, based on a complaint filed by Sharp of Japan. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. 1337, in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain liquid crystal display devices and products.

On June 12, 2009, the ALJ issued his final ID finding a violation of section 337 by Samsung. He also issued his recommendation on remedy and bonding during the period of Presidential review.

On June 29, 2009, Samsung and the Commission investigative attorney ("IA") filed petitions for review of the final ID. The IA and Sharp filed responses to the petitions on July 7, 2009. On September 9, 2009, the Commission issued notice of its determination not to review the ALJ?s final ID and requested written submissions on the issues of remedy, the public interest, and bonding from the parties and interested non-parties.

On September 16 and 23, 2009, respectively, complainant Sharp, the Samsung respondents, and the IA filed briefs and reply briefs on the issues for which the Commission requested written submissions. On September 21, 2009, Samsung filed a petition for reconsideration of the Commission?s determination not to review certain portions of the final ID.

On October 19, 2009, the Commission issued an order denying the petition for reconsideration.

On October 30, 2009, Samsung filed a supplemental submission on the issues of remedy, the public interest, and bonding. On November 2 and 3, 2009, respectively, Sharp and the IA filed a response to Samsung?s supplemental submission.

The Commission has determined that the appropriate form of relief is both: 1) a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry of LCD devices, including specific display panels and modules, and products, where the infringing LCD devices are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or are imported by or on behalf of, Samsung, or any of its affiliated companies, parents, subsidiaries, licensees, contractors, or other related business entities, or successors or assigns; and 2) cease and desist orders prohibiting Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. from conducting any of the following activities in the United States: importing, selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, offering for sale, transferring (except for exportation), and soliciting U.S. agents or distributors for, LCD devices, including display panels and modules, and products containing the same that infringe patents.

It?s unlikely that the ban would take effect before the December holidays because of the 60-day presidential review period. Samsung, which can sell LCD-TVs that don?t use Sharp inventions, said the ITC ruling doesn?t have any impact on its business because it?s already using technology that bypasses the Japanese company?s patents.

The ITC also has issued exclusion orders on TVs made by both Vizio and Sharp. Sharp is not allowed to import Sharp LCD televisions, including ones sold under the Aquos name, that infringe a Samsung patent for an LCD with a wider viewing angle. That case, which also affected some computer monitors, is on appeal.

Vizio is under investigation by the ITC as to whether it is violating an order that precludes it from importing LCD-TVs that infringe a patent owned by Japan?s Funai Electric Co. for a method that lets digital TV receivers identify programs, broadcast channels and program descriptions to viewers.


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