The US International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint by Photobit Corp. of Pasadena, Calif., that three companies are violating US import laws. Photobit complained in January that some imported digital cameras and image sensors violate three patents for active-pixel complementary metal oxide semiconductor imagers. Photobit owns one of the patents and licenses the others from the California Institute of Technology. Respondents in the case are Omnivision Technologies Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., Creative Labs Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., and X10 Wireless Technology Inc. of Seattle. The commission has assigned the case to an administrative law judge for an initial determination of whether the devices constitute unfair competition under Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930. Penalties include fines up to $100,000 per day or twice the value of the imported goods.