ITC launches patent investigation into top tech firms

ITC launches patent investigation into top tech firms

Summary: A complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission means 13 top firms - including Acer and Samsung - will be investigated for patent infringement.

TOPICS: Patents

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is launching an investigation into the wireless consumer devices and components of 13 companies for patent infringement.

itc 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, 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.

Topic: Patents

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The Plaintiffs All Sound Like Patent-Troll Companies

    And so the protection racket rolls on...
    • Where do you draw the line?

      It's easy to say a company is a patent troll, but then why have patents at all? Is Apple a patent troll going after poor lil Samsung?
  • A strange mix

    of named companies they're going after. If it is indeed "any consumer electronic device -- including smartphones, tablets, hand-held consoles and modems" then why is it only limited to those 13 companies? Did others licence the tech in the correct manner?
    Little Old Man
  • They are all just patent trolls

    All three of them. Which means that the merits of their complaint probably exist somewhere between nada and squat.
  • Pay up

    This may be a patent troll, but these are serious patents. The defendants are going to end up licensing them, because it appears to be impossible to build a microprocessor without using them. The list of licensees reads like a who's who of the industry, including Intel and AMD. Google "Moore Microprocessor Patent portfolio." FORTH INVENTED MOORE THAT.
    Robert Hahn
  • Meanwhile...

    All (hyperbole) of the tech companies are involved in buying patent portfolios from the Kodak's of the world. Trolls?
  • PTSC tried to make its own Chips with Patents

    This serves to bring to your attention some of the most important technological patents in the world. Patriot Scientific has demonstrated repeatedly at the USPTO (US Patent Office) that their patents are valid and withstood 17 Re-examinations, these re exams entailed being looked over 650 Different ways or arguments against them.

    Without these patents we would still be in an era of 1983 -1984 Technology, your cell phones that you value so much would be about the size of a football, and without a touch screen. Everything that is DIGITAL uses the MMP.

    This technology has enabled the modernization of society as we know it, Used in Satellites, cell phones, tvs, computers, cars, planes, trains, entertainment, military, government operations, you name it, anything digital, it has these patents applied to them.

    Somebody invented it and it was not the infringing companies. The infringing companies have apparently conspired together to bring Patriot Scientific to its knees by making it impossible for them to apply their technology to build their own product line.

    How? I am glad you asked, when a patent was approved, another company would step and ask the USPTO to reexamine the patents all over again, doing this 17 times in hopes that PTSC would go broke and “go-away”. PTSC survived the onslaught and its not going to go away as expected.
    • A Troll is a Troll is a Troll

      Patriot Scientific's only claim to semi-fame is the Moore Microprocessor Patent. Its validity was only held up by the patent troll's most favorite court in the land, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
  • Patent Troll vs Patent Thieves

    In an effort to belittle a legitimate patent owner that tried to produces their own products a Patent Troll is an insult to the shareholders. The real villains are the Patent Thieves hiding behind a Brand Name with huge fortunes raked in by the theft of patent technology.