The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is launching an investigation into the wireless consumer devices and components of 13 companies for patent infringement.
On the firing line include technology giants Samsung, Acer and Nintendo, according to PC World. The corporations and their subsidiaries will be investigated due to a complaint filed in July by three companies in California -- one of which is intellectual-property licensing company Patriot Scientific.
The patent in question is U.S. Patent no. 5,809,336, titled "High performance microprocessor having variable speed system clock". The patent summary states:
A high performance, low cost microprocessor system having a variable speed system clock is disclosed herein. The microprocessor system includes an integrated circuit having a central processing unit and a ring oscillator variable speed system clock for clocking the microprocessor.
The central processing unit and ring oscillator variable speed system clock each include a plurality of electronic devices of like type, which allows the central processing unit to operate at a variable processing frequency dependent upon a variable speed of the ring oscillator variable speed system clock.
The other companies that will be investigated include Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Garmin, HTC, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Kyocera, and LG.
The terms of the patent, assigned to Patriot Scientific, means that any consumer electronic device -- including smartphones, tablets, hand-held consoles and modems -- may be infringing on the patent, according to the ITC.
The complainants are Technology Properties, Phoenix Digital Solutions, and Patriot Scientific, all of which have requested that the commission issue "cease and desist" orders on the questionable devices. Patriot filed a similar motion against the 13 companies in July this year, seeking financial restitution for past infringements and unpaid royalties.
The ITC has not judged the merits of the case yet, and the investigation -- which involves section 337 claims of IPR, patent infringement and trademark violations -- has a target completion date of 45 days.