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Local firms face patent infringement threats

by June 25, 2016 General

June 26, 2016, 12:15 am TWN

TAIPEI — Taiwanese exporters are facing rising threats from patent infringement accusations in the United States, which could have an adverse impact on Taiwan’s exports to the U.S. market, according to a warning from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Since May, firms operating in the U.S. market have filed three complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), accusing Taiwanese exporters of infringing on their patents and demanding that the USITC stop the accused from selling products in the U.S. market.

The latest complaint revealed by the USITC June 20 shows that a consortium led by Tessera Technologies, Inc. from California accused Taiwan-based PC vendor Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩) and Taiwanese smartphone brand HTC Corp. (宏達電) of stealing their technology related to certain semiconductor devices and semiconductor device packages.

In addition to Asustek and HTC, several other foreign companies, such as Broadcom Corp. and Avago Technologies Inc., were also named in the complaint. The Tessera-led consortium alleges that the accused firms violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and has demanded that the USITC issue an order to ban sales of the products at issue in the U.S. market.

The USITC has voted to launch an investigation into the allegation, saying that in 45 days of the launch of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the probe.

Before the June 20 complaints, the USITC said May 5 that HTC, among other companies, faced an accusation by Creative Technology Ltd. of Singapore, which alleges that the Taiwanese firm infringed on its patent involving production of certain mobile devices. The USITC has launched a probe into the allegation.

On May 3, the USITC said that Taiwan-based Bridging Partners Corp. (元泰五金), Better Enterprise Co. (貝泰企業) and Everflow Industrial Supply Corp. (恆川國際) were named in a complaint that alleges the three Taiwanese firms have infringed on WCM Industries Inc.’s patent related to production of certain overflow and drain assemblies for bathtubs and components. The commission has also kicked off an investigation after the accusation.

The MOEA said that the accusations on patent infringements under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 are aimed at delaying customs clearance of the accused firms’ products into the U.S. and have led to the accused suffering failure of prompt deliveries, therefore missing business opportunities.