iPhone X image.Source: iMore

What you need to know

  • The International Trade Commission has said it is opening an investigation into possible patent violations.
  • These cover touch screen phones, computers and computer parts from Apple, Amazon and other companies.
  • The move has been spurred by a complaint lodged by Neodrom Ltd of Ireland.

The International Trade Commission has launched an investigation into several companies over the infringement of patents in certain touch screen phones, computers and components.

In a statement the ITC said:

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain capacitive touch-controlled mobile devices, computers, and components thereof. The products at issue in the investigation are described in the Commission's notice of investigation.

The full filing says that the scope of the investigation will cover "touch-controlled smartphones, touch-controlled tablet devices, touch-controlled notebook computers, touch-controlled laptop computers, and components thereof".

The following companies are under scrutiny:

  • Amazon.com, Inc., of Seattle, WA;
  • Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA;
  • ASUSTeK Computer Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan;
  • ASUS Computer International of Fremont, CA;
  • LG Electronics Inc. of Seoul, Korea;
  • LG Electronics USA, Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, NJ;
  • Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA;
  • Motorola Mobility LLC of Chicago, IL;
  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of Suwon, South Korea;
  • Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ;
  • Sony Corporation of Tokyo, Japan; and
  • Sony Mobile Communications Inc. of Tokyo, Japan.

The ITC notes it has not made any decision regarding the merits of the case, and that within 45 days of instituting the investigation, it will issue a target date for the completion of the investigation.

The investigation has been triggered by a complaint that was filed by Irish Company Neodron Ltd, which is based in Dublin. A filing on February 14, 2020, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, and it is claimed that "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. Neodrom is asking the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders to the companies involved.