Old Lady Sues Tech Giants for Patents, Bakes Cakes with Lasers

Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, the scourge of high-tech companies and freeway drivers, is trying to block imports from Sony, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Matsushita and Samsung, after successfully settling a similar patent lawsuit against Philips last week. The U.S. International Trade Commission is launching an investigation on 30 companies, which will affect products with short-wavelength LEDs and laser diodes that are used everywhere, from mobiles to Blu-ray players:

March 20, 2008 News Release 08-027 Inv. No. 337-TA-640

ITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN SHORT-WAVELENGTH LIGHT EMITTING DIODES, LASER DIODES AND PRODUCTS CONTAINING SAME


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain short-wavelength light emitting diodes, laser diodes, and products containing same. The products at issue in this investigation are short-wavelength (e.g., blue, violet) LEDs and laser diodes that are used in products such as hand-held mobile devices, instrument panels, billboards, traffic lights, HD DVD players (e.g., Blu-ray disc players), and data storage devices.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Gertrude Neumark Rothschild of Hartsdale, NY, on February 20, 2008. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States of certain short-wavelength light emitting diodes, laser diodes, and products containing same that infringe a patent owned by Rothschild. The complainant requests that the ITC issue exclusion orders and cease and desist orders.

The ITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

Avago Technologies of Singapore;
Bacol Optoelectonic Co. Ltd. of Taiwan;
Dominant Semiconductors Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia;
Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd., of Taiwan;
Exceed Perseverance Electronic Ind. Co., Ltd., of China;
Guangzhou Hongli Opto-Electronic Co., Ltd., of China;
Harvatek Internaional Inc. of Taiwan;
Hitachi, Ltd., of Japan;
Kingbright Electronic Co., Ltd., of Taiwan;
LG Electronics of Korea;
Lite-On Technology Corp. of Taiwan;
Lucky Light Electronics Co., Ltd., of China;
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., of Japan;
Motorola, Inc., of Schaumburg, IL;
Nokia of Finland;
Opto Tech Corporation of Taiwan;
Pioneer Corporation of Japan;
Rohm Co., Ltd., of Japan;
Samsung Group of Korea;
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., of Japan;
Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd., of Korea;
Sharp Corporation of Japan;
Shenzhen Unilight Electronic Co., Ltd., of China;
Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., of Japan;
Sony Corporation of Japan;
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB of Sweden;
Stanley Electric Co., Ltd., of Japan;
Toshiba Corporation of Japan;
Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., of Malvern, PA; and
Yellow Stone Corporation of Taiwan.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-640), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Paul J. Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. Judge Luckern 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 ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC 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.

[USITC via Reuters]