The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to start an investigation based on a patent infringement complaint filed by VideoLabs, a patent aggregator, against four big PC makers from China and Taiwan. The plaintiff asks the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders to prevent the importation of select devices by Acer, Asus, MSI, Motorola Mobility, and Lenovo into the U.S.
VideoLabs asserts that PCs (and other devices) made by Acer, Asus, MSI, Motorola Mobility (owned by Lenovo), and Lenovo featuring certain GPUs with video processing capabilities infringe four patents owned by the patent aggregator. VideoLabs filed the complaint against the PC makers with the U.S. ITC on July 1, 2022. The Commission will now conduct an investigation and if it finds that those computers infringe patents owned by the plaintiff, it may ban sales of certain products by the aforementioned companies in the U.S.
Three U.S. patents in question — 7,769,238, 8,139,878, 8,208,542 — cover video coding methods developed in early 2000s by Panasonic. Meanwhile, the fourth patent — 7,372,452 — describes a method of video playback on portable devices with automatic adjustment according to a rotating direction of the screen. It was originally issued to Samsung in early 2000s. The patents can seemingly be applied to almost all modern devices with video processing and display capabilities, including PCs, media players, smartphones, tablets, and even televisions.
Acer, Asus, MSI, Motorola Mobility, and Lenovo have yet to issue comments on the investigation by the ITC.
Established in 2018, VideoLabs specializes in the aggregation of video processing IP. Since its foundation, the company has acquired hundreds of patents from numerous holders and licensed them to a variety of companies, including Disney, and two Fortune 100 companies. In the last 18 months or so, VideoLabs has also filed patent infringement complaints against Amazon, Dell, Meta, and Netflix.
VideoLabs owns patents originating from Nokia Corp., Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens AG, Swisscom AG, 3Com, Panasonic and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). In fact, HPE, Kudelski S.A., and Swisscom are members in the VideoLabs patent collective.