U.S. ITC Launches Investigation Into Capacitive Devices Made by Apple and Others Following Patent Infringement Complaint

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The United States International Trade Commission today announced an investigation into possible patent violations involving capacitive touch-controlled devices, computers, and components created by Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and others, reports Reuters.


According to a document announcing the investigation [PDF], it stems from a February complaint filed by Irish company Neodron claiming Apple and other companies are infringing on Neodron-owned patents related to touch-based devices.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Neodron, Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland, on February 14, 2020. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain capacitive touch-controlled mobile devices, computers, and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by the complainant. The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

The ITC will investigate the complaint, which involves Amazon, Apple, ASUSTek, ASUS computer International, LG Electronics, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and Sony Mobile Communications to determine if there have been patent violations under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

Neodron is ultimately seeking a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders against the companies involved in the investigation. The ITC says that the launch of the investigation does not mean that a decision has been made on the merits of the case.

The case will be assigned to an administrative law judge who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing to make an initial determination as to whether there is indeed a patent infringement issue.

The U.S. ITC previously announced a similar investigation into touch-controlled devices, computers, and components in June, but Apple was not part of that particular investigation, which has now been expanded.

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