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Notice

Certain Semiconductor Chips With Minimized Chip Package Size and Products Containing Same (III); Notice of Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding No Violation of Section 337; Schedule for Filing Written Submissions on the Issues Under Review and on Remedy, the Public Interest and Bonding

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AGENCY:

U.S. International Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined to review in part the final initial determination (“ID”) issued by the presiding administrative law judge (“ALJ”) on August 28, 2009, finding no violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. 1337, in this investigation.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Panyin A. Hughes, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-3042. Copies of non-confidential documents filed in connection with this investigation are or will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server (http://www.usitc.gov). The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at http://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This investigation was instituted on January 14, 2008, based on a complaint filed by Tessera, Inc. of San Jose, California (“Tessera”) on December 21, 2007, and supplemented on December 28, 2007. 73 FR 2276 (Jan. 14, 2008). The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (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 semiconductor chips with minimized chip package size or products containing same by reason of infringement of various claims of United States Patent Nos. 5,663,106 (“the '106 patent' ”); 5,679,977 (“the '977 patent' ”); 6,133,627 (“the '627 patent' ”); and 6,458,681 (“the '681 patent' ”). The complaint names eighteen respondents. Several respondents were terminated from the investigation based on settlement agreements and consent orders. Two respondents defaulted. The following respondents remain in the investigation: Acer Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan; Acer America Corp. of San Jose, CA; Centon Electronics, Inc. of Aliso Viejo, CA; Elpida Memory, Inc. of Tokyo, Japan and Elpida Memory (USA), Inc. of Sunnyvale, CA (collectively, “Elpida”); Kingston Technology Co., Inc. of Fountain Valley, CA; Nanya Technology Corporation of Taoyuan, Taiwan; Nanya Technology Corp. USA; Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation of Hsinchu, Taiwan; ProMOS Technologies, Inc. of Hsinchu, Taiwan; Ramaxel Technology Ltd. of Hong Kong, China; and SMART Modular Technologies, Inc. of Fremont, CA. The `681 patent was terminated from the investigation prior to the hearing.

On August 28, 2009, the ALJ issued his final ID, finding no violation of Section 337 by Respondents with respect to any of the asserted claims of the asserted patents. Specifically, the ALJ found that the accused products do not infringe the asserted claims of the `106 patent. The ALJ also found that none of the cited references anticipate the asserted claims and that none of the cited references render the asserted claims obvious. The ALJ further found that the asserted claims of the `106 patent satisfy the requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112, first, second and fourth paragraphs. Likewise, the ALJ found that the accused products do not infringe the asserted claims of the `977 and `627 patents and that none of the cited references anticipate the asserted claims of the patents. The ALJ further found that the asserted claims of the `977 and `627 patents satisfy the definiteness requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, and that Respondents waived their argument with respect to obviousness. The ALJ also found that all chips Respondents purchased from Tessera licensees were authorized to be sold by Tessera and, thus, Tessera's rights in those chips became subject to exhaustion, but that Respondents, except Elpida, did not purchase all their chips from Tessera licensees.

On September 17, 2009, Tessera and the Commission investigative attorney filed petitions for review of the ID. That same day, Respondents filed contingent petitions for review of the ID. On October 1, 2009, the parties filed responses to the various petitions and contingent petitions for review.

Having examined the record of this investigation, including the ALJ's final ID, the petitions for review, and the responses thereto, the Commission has determined to review the final ID in part. Specifically, the Commission has determined to review (1) the finding that the claim term “top layer” recited in claim 1 of the `106 patent means “an outer layer of the chip assembly upon which the terminals are fixed,” the requirement that “the `top layer' is a single layer,” and the effect of the findings on the infringement analysis, invalidity analysis and domestic industry analysis; (2) the finding that the claim term “thereon” recited in claim 1 of the `106 patent requires “disposing the terminals on the top surface of the top layer,” and its effect on the infringement analysis, invalidity analysis and domestic industry analysis; (3) the finding that the Direct Loading testing methodology employed by Tessera's expert to prove infringement is unreliable; and (4) the finding that the 1989 Motorola OMPAC 68-pin chip package fails to anticipate claims 17 and 18 of the `977 patent. The Commission has determined not to review the remaining issues raised by the petitions for review.

The parties are requested to brief their positions on the issues under review with reference to the applicable law and the evidentiary record. In connection with its review, the Commission is particularly interested in responses to the following questions:

1. Would the accused products infringe the asserted claims of the `106 patent if construction of the claim term “top layer” does not encompass only a single layer? Please cite record evidence and/or relevant legal precedent to support your position.

2. Did the patentees of the `106 patent expressly disclaim the embodiment described in Figure 7 of United States Patent No. 5,148, 265 (“the `265 patent”)? How would that affect the infringement analysis of the asserted claims of the `106 patent? See `106 Patent Prosecution History (JX-167) June 24, 1996, Office Action and Start Printed Page 57193December 24, 1996, Amendment; `265 patent (JX-2) at column 14, lines 19-34; FIG. 7. Please cite record evidence and relevant legal authority to support your position.

3. Does Dr. Qu state anywhere in the record that he relied on his direct loading testing methodology to independently prove infringement of the asserted claims of the `977 and `627 patents by the accused packages? Please cite only record evidence.

4. Was Dr. Qu's demonstrated stress relief in the solder balls of the accused packages due to terminal-to-chip displacement caused by the applied external load? Please cite only record evidence.

In connection with the final disposition of this investigation, the Commission may (1) issue an order that could result in the exclusion of the subject articles from entry into the United States, and/or (2) issue one or more cease and desist orders that could result in the respondent(s) being required to cease and desist from engaging in unfair acts in the importation and sale of such articles. Accordingly, the Commission is interested in receiving written submissions that address the form of remedy, if any, that should be ordered. If a party seeks exclusion of an article from entry into the United States for purposes other than entry for consumption, the party should so indicate and provide information establishing that activities involving other types of entry either are adversely affecting it or likely to do so. For background, see In the Matter of Certain Devices for Connecting Computers via Telephone Lines, Inv. No. 337-TA-360, USITC Pub. No. 2843 (December 1994) (Commission Opinion).

If the Commission contemplates some form of remedy, it must consider the effects of that remedy upon the public interest. The factors the Commission will consider include the effect that an exclusion order and/or cease and desist orders would have on (1) the public health and welfare, (2) competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, (3) U.S. production of articles that are like or directly competitive with those that are subject to investigation, and (4) U.S. consumers. The Commission is therefore interested in receiving written submissions that address the aforementioned public interest factors in the context of this investigation.

If the Commission orders some form of remedy, the U.S. Trade Representative, as delegated by the President, has 60 days to approve or disapprove the Commission's action. See Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2005, 70 FR 43251 (July 26, 2005). During this period, the subject articles would be entitled to enter the United States under bond, in an amount determined by the Commission. The Commission is therefore interested in receiving submissions concerning the amount of the bond that should be imposed if a remedy is ordered.

Written Submissions: The parties to the investigation are requested to file written submissions on the issues identified in this notice. Parties to the investigation, interested government agencies, and any other interested parties are encouraged to file written submissions on the issues of remedy, the public interest, and bonding. Such submissions should address the recommended determination by the ALJ on remedy and bonding. Complainants and the IA are also requested to submit proposed remedial orders for the Commission's consideration. Complainants are also requested to state the dates that the patents expire and the HTSUS numbers under which the accused products are imported. The written submissions and proposed remedial orders must be filed no later than close of business on Friday, November 13, 2009. Reply submissions must be filed no later than the close of business on Friday, November 20, 2009. No further submissions on these issues will be permitted unless otherwise ordered by the Commission.

Persons filing written submissions must file the original document and 12 true copies thereof on or before the deadlines stated above with the Office of the Secretary. Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment unless the information has already been granted such treatment during the proceedings. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary of the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR § 210.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is sought will be treated accordingly. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary.

The authority for the Commission's determination is contained in section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and in sections 210.42-210.46 and 210.50 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR *§ 210.42-210.46 and 210.50).

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By order of the Commission.

Issued: October 30, 2009.

Marilyn R. Abbott,

Secretary to the Commission.

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[FR Doc. E9-26546 Filed 11-3-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7020-02-P