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USITC sides with Sony against Fujifilm in patent dispute

Post Time:2019-03-28 Source:WIPR Author: Views:

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has issued an order preventing Fujifilm from importing certain magnetic tape cartridges following a section 337 patent infringement complaint brought by Sony.

Execution of the order has been suspended, however, pending a final decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which has provisionally found some of Sony’s patent claims to be invalid.

In its final decision, issued yesterday, March 25, the ITC found that the Fujifilm products infringed two Sony patents covering magnetic recording technology (US numbers 7,029,774 and 6,674,596).

The ITC initiated the investigation in June 2017 after Sony filed its complaint, alleging infringement of three patents.

The investigation ran concurrently to an inter partes review at the PTAB. The board ruled in October 2018 that claims 15 and 17 of the ‘774 patent were unpatentable.

An ITC administrative law judge reached a preliminary finding in August 2018 that Fujifilm was liable for a section 337 offence with respect to the ‘774 and ‘596 patents, but not another Sony patent (US number 6,979,501).

The ITC yesterday affirmed the provisional findings, and issued an order preventing Fujifilm from importing the goods, except for the purpose of compliance verification testing.

The commission suspended execution of the order, however, pending “final resolution” of the PTAB’s decision with respect to the ‘774 patent.

It is the latest in a series of patent disputes between the two companies over the technology.

Last month, WIPR reported that Fujifilm had appealed a PTAB ruling that two of Sony’s patents (US numbers 7,115,331 and 6,896,959) covering magnetic tape media were valid.

In a statement sent to WIPR, a spokesperson for Fujifilm said that the ITC's ruling "does not reflect our view".