back to article ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US

Seagate and LSI are off the hook for infringing Taiwanese firm Realtek’s semiconductor patents after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Realtek can't enforce its rights without a local presence. Realtek had accused Avago-owned LSI and Seagate back in 2012 of violating its patent on a way of making an …

  1. tmTM

    What of Patent Trolls

    They don't 'use' any IP, unless you include using it as a stick to beat other companies with and dragging them through the courts?????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Mericans are the guiding light of all that is pure and holy. They lead the way in multiple fields; Science, maths, physics, torture, drone strikes, paranoia, vindictiveness, etc.

      Said it many times. They need us much more than we need them. I suppose US patents are no longer in effect in the EU then. Turn about is fair play.

    2. rob1n

      Re: What of Patent Trolls

      And they don't go to the ITC, so this ruling is irrelevant to them.

  2. TonyJ Silver badge

    One rule for the US of A and one for everyone else

    Bullies all round. Big companies using lawyers and ridiculous laws* to force smaller and innovative companies out of business and to avoid paying taxes.

    Rules and laws that seemingly get made up in real time by judges depending on god alone knows what criteria?

    Love how the Americans seem to believe that they have a god given right to interfere with every last corner of the world and yet don't want a level playing field for businesses. Or governments.

    Trying not to make this _too much_ of a foaming-at-the-mouth rant but that's made my blood boil.

    *I don't blame the companies directly for some of the laws, however, I suspect that big business has a hand in an awful lot of them that give them an advantage of some/any kind.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: One rule for the US of A and one for everyone else

      All this ruling says is that you if you don't have a US presence, you can't make a complaint through the US ITC (the body that would allow banning imports or infringing) This doesn't stop them from suing in US federal court, or the courts of any other countries that Seagate and LSI operate in.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Simple answer.....

    ...create a shell office in the states. Shove money through it, make a loss (even on multi billion turnovers), pay no tax and hey presto, you are a US company.

    1. Timmay

      Re: Simple answer.....

      Indeed, though I suspect if it was that simple, it would have been done.

    2. Tcat

      Re: Simple answer... and no secret

      There is a particular town in East Texas

      That has numerous offices for some large International firms.

      Each company employees 2 or 3 people.

      How interesting this town also hosts a US District Circuit Court House.

      A court that currently has taken away from the State of Louisiana the reputation of

      Being most friendly/unfriendly, depends on your viewpoint.

      I used to think Louisiana took the book, so to speak, being based on Napolitano Law, not the Crown like the other 49 states. In it's day it was pro 'shrinkwrap law'.

      Shinkwrap law wen like this: The terms and conditions of you buying (leasing/renting?) my software has terms and conditions. When you break the plastic, you agreed to the T&C. However you couldn't know what the T&C's we're until you accepted them.

      You didn't like that? Tough Tittie for you.

      This IMO, reflects the double edge sword of being one of the freest nations on earth. We're really free to engage the game of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap via the law.

  4. William Donelson

    Very misleading title for this article

    Very misleading title for this article

    1. btrower

      Re: Very misleading title for this article

      @William Donelson:

      Agree. To rule otherwise would be to dispense with both law and reason. To cure the apparent injustice (there is no real injustice here), they should lobby to have patents abolished. Fair?

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    US ITC decides it doesn't have the legitimacy to deal with foreign IP shit.

    Film at 11.

    Meanwhile US State Department decides that it has the legitimacy to deal with Countries in the Middle of Europe.

    Film at 11:30, followed by the Kerry troll show.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that over seas companies can't enforce their patents in the US, yet the US bullies every one in the world about enforcing US patents and copywrights. Big Business rules in the US. This is further proof that the US is a plutocracy instead of a democracy

    1. rob1n

      They can't enforce their patents via the ITC unless they use that IP in the USA. There's nothing here that says they can't take the companies to court and enforce their patents that way though.

  7. Tom 13

    Some El Reg authors need to do a bit more fact checking

    The ALJ conducted an evidentiary hearing from June 1-9, 2009 .. Prior to the hearing, Qimonda tacitly withdrew three of the asserted patents: the '055 patent, the '240 patent, and the '456 patent. Qimonda did not present evidence regarding those patents at the hearing, and did not include any analysis of those patents in its post-hearing briefing.

    On October 14, 2009, the ALJ issued his final ID. The ID formally withdrew the '055 patent, the '240 patent, and the '456 patent from the investigation. The ALJ found that based on his claim constructions, Qimonda had not demonstrated that it practices any of the patents in suit. Accordingly, the ALJ ruled that an industry does not exist in the United States that exploits any of the four remaining asserted patents, as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(2). The ALJ ruled that certain LSI products infringe certain claims of the' 918 patent, but that no accused products infringe any of the other asserted patents. The ALJ ruled that all of the asserted claims of the '918 patent, and some of the asserted claims of the '434 patent, are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 102, but that the asserted claims of the' 670 and '899 patents are not invalid.

    So Realtech fired the scattergun, but their shells were filled with rock salt, not actual pellets.

    And really, it didn't take that much digging for me to find the actual document.

  8. PassiveSmoking

    Good to know

    So patents only apply in the country where they're taken out.

    Good to know, means I can ignore all US patents with impunity. I'm off to build a One Click implementation!

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Good to know

      Read much? It would still apply if the US company had operations in your country.

      Is this concept really that hard to understand?

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: Good to know

        quote: "Read much? It would still apply if the US company had operations in your country.

        Is this concept really that hard to understand?"

        Actually, this ruling is restricted purely to claims filed in the US, it being based upon US patent legislation. It categorically would not apply if someone filed a claim against a US company in France or the UK; the French (or British) legislation would apply instead, and that may or may not require a business presence of company A to assert the validity of patent claims by company A, as the country sees fit.

        There is a lot of overlap (and specific treaties) which cover IP law between nations, including the recognition of patents and copyright in one which was registered in another, but it is still the case that the only valid legislation in country X is that enacted by country X.

        (It does make a mockery of claiming you are entitled to invade another country because their laws allow them to do something you don't like, of course, but cognitive dissonance and doublethink are quite prevalent in political circles)

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Good to know

      No you are reading it wrong.

      It's more like...

      If you are not a multinational with offices in the US you can piss off.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Good to know

      "So patents only apply in the country where they're taken out."

      This has always been the case.

      However just because something's been patented in the USA doesn't mean it hasn't ALSO been patented in your local jurisdiction (generally the limit for filing in another country is 12 months after first filing or grant date in any other)

  9. Arctic fox

    I really think that the USA should think about what they are saying here.

    "Seagate and LSI are off the hook for infringing Taiwanese firm Realtek’s semiconductor patents after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Realtek can't enforce its rights without a local presence."

    Your patents are invalid unless you trade within the United States? Pardon my naivete but I thought that there were several international agreements relating to patent recognition? We have here in the UK the expression "Little Englander" describing a closed-minded "patriot" who cannot see further than his own nose. This kind of thing from the "Leader of The Free World" is bloody embarrassing.

    1. Christopher E. Stith

      Re: I really think that the USA should think about what they are saying here.

      I should think your naivete and that of the article's author would need to be pardoned. The ITC is an executive function with limited scope. This patent falls outside their scope for the reasons stated. The patent courts, a judiciary function, are not limited by the same scope.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: I really think that the USA should think about what they are saying here.

        So, to resume, the body known as the International Trade Commission has a limited scope, meaning that a great many international companies can't actually make complaints about domestic companies. That sounds like a bit of a tilted playing field.

        1. Arctic fox
          Thumb Up

          @Dan 55 RE: "That sounds like a bit of a tilted playing field."

          Indeed. Your italicsing "the International Trade Commission" hits the nail right on the head. If companies not "resident" in the US have no rights when persuing/defending a case against this august body then the International Trade Commission is in fact the National Trade Commission" and as such should having nothing at all to do with these decisions where one of the parties is not a "US resident". If the International Trade Commission is not interested in international law then my original point stands.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: I really think that the USA should think about what they are saying here.


        Badly named.

        It's the USA protection authority for American companies to implement Protectionism. It should be illegal. The UN and WTC should demand

        1) USA respect other countries laws

        2) USA respect non-USA IP

        3) USA fined for each attempt at protectionism and attempt to disrupt international trade.


  10. SisterClamp

    You think this is bad?

    You should see what the District Court is doing to Argentina!

    "Judge Griesa even ruled that a payment by Argentina to holders of a euro-denominated restructured bond was also illegal, even though that particular bond is denominated under English law, and not under U.S. jurisdiction."

    "In 2012, [US company NML Capital] hired mercenaries to detain and try to seize an Argentine ship where it was docked off the coast of Ghana; at another time it even attempted to grab the Argentina Presidential plane from an airport—as “collateral” for its supposed holding of debt." for the full story.

  11. Hud Dunlap

    Even the States courts do it.

    A man was charged with murder in California after his wife died off the coast of Italy.

    I can't find the followup article ( maybe one of legal types could) but the State Appeals court said that California laws do not stop at the border!

  12. southen bastard

    Most yanks think that the world ends at the border, and aparently so do there patintes, bring it on karma is a bitch, this is realy going to back fire on the usa, about time.

  13. Mage Silver badge


    The USA copying of IP or Books started to get endemic in 19th Century. The only protection Europeans had was to have a US company and US registrations.

    Then in early twentieth century foreign owners forced to sell out to Americans. E.G. RCA formed from forced sell out of Marconi America.

    The USA still doesn't handle Broadcast Music copyright royalties properly.

    The Canadians fed up with USA companies and copyright violations took a leaf from USA and passed at law that any book NOT offered in Canada by USA publishers within a certain period could be published without payments to the US.

    The USA also double taxes US citizens abroad. Refuses to acknowledge that US citizens, solders and corporations abroad should be subject to the local laws and also passes internationally invalid extra-territorial laws.

    They need to stop trying to export their concept of Democracy and foisting their culture and laws on the rest of us. The USA isn't divinely created by God or appointed to by them to run the rest of us. They need to stop trying to out do the Russians in Arrogance. Russia is terrible. USA is a different more insidious kind of world cancer.

  14. hellwig Silver badge

    IANAL, but what?

    Last I heard, knowingly possessing stolen goods was also a crime. Wouldn't anyone who imports products containing technology that infringes on RealTek's patents be violating the law? I am not a lawyer, but I really don't see how RealTek's home base has any affect here. If the ITC acknowledges that these U.S. company's are infringing on a foreign patent, couldn't they prevent import of any of those goods manufactured outside the US? Heck, Seagate is technically Irish now, right? How do they have any standing in the US?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019