CAFC Upholds ITC Exclusion Order in Rule 36 Judgment


“Man Controlling Trade” outside the ITC in DC, by NY sculptor Michael Lantz (1942).

The United States Court of Appeals recently issued a Rule 36 Summary Affirmance of the April 27, 2012 Final Determination of the International Trade Commission (hereinafter “Commission” or “ITC”) in In the Matter of Certain Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and Products Containing Same. A Rule 36 judgment can be entered without an opinion when it is determined by the panel that any one of five conditions exist and a written opinion would not have precedential value.  See What is a Rule 36 Judgment?  The Federal Circuit judgment affirmed the Commission’s general exclusion order, “prohibiting the unlicensed importation of infringing ground fault circuit interrupters and products containing same,” inhibiting infringement on Leviton Manufacturing’s U.S. Patent No. 7,737,809.

The Commission instituted this particular investigation on October 8, 2010, based on a complaint and an amended complaint filed by Leviton Manufacturing Co., of Melville, New York (“Leviton”). The complaint and amended complaint alleged 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 ground fault circuit interrupters and products containing the same by reason of infringement of claims 1-7, 9-11, 13-17, 23-26, and 32-36 of U.S. Patent No. 7,463,124 (“the ’124 patent”); claims 1-11, 13-28, 30-59, 61-64, and 74-83 of U.S. Patent No. 7,737,809 (“the ’809 patent”); and claims 1-4 and 8 of U.S. Patent No. 7,764,151 (“the ’151 patent”).


Rambus Wins Limited Exclusion Order at ITC against NVIDIA, despite Pending Reexaminations

The following post comes from Scott Daniels, a partner at Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian LLP, Practice Center Contributor and author of Reexamination Alert.

Traditionally, District Court judges have issued permanent injunctions to stop infringement of valid patents, regardless of any pending reexamination of the patent in question.  Only if the rejection of the patent claims in reexamination is “final,” would the courts refuse to enjoin the accused infringer.  A few judges – notably Judge James Cohn of the Southern District of Florida and Judge Sue Robinson of Delaware – have recently shown a willingness to defer a decision on injunctive relief even where the rejection of the patent in reexamination is not final.

The Rambus/NVIDA investigation raises the question of the extent to which the ITC is willing to order relief on the basis of patents that are in reexamination at the PTO.  Unfortunately for NVIDIA, its argument to the ITC that it stay relief against NVIDIA was weak because its attack the Rambus patents by reexamination has been “an incomplete success” (to borrow a phrase from President Carter).

That weakness may account, in part, for NVIDIA’s agreeing at the end of last week to a license to the Rambus patents, effectively concluding the dispute between the parties.  Still, the ITC’s analysis in the Rambus/NVIDA investigation remains of great interest to the IP community, as it suggests that the ITC will be extremely reluctant to withhold relief against infringing imports on the basis of an uncompleted reexamination. (more…)