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IPR Enforcement Actions on Denim Garments, Footwear, Sonar Systems, Network Devices

Friday, November 20, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Denim Garments. The International Trade Commission has determined not to review two initial determinations terminating the remaining respondents from patent infringement investigation 337-TA-930 of denim garments, including jeans and leggings, that have been abraded with a laser to apply designs or to simulate wear. As a result, it appears that no IPR-related import restrictions will be imposed on these goods.

Complainants RevoLaze LLC and TechnoLines LLC had sought an exclusion order, which would have directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prohibit the entry of infringing products into the U.S. However, several U.S. trade groups said they opposed an exclusion order because it could amount to an import restriction on an entire class of products (jeans with worn/distressed finish) given that CBP would have no definable way to determine how a particular product achieved a distressed look or to enforce an import restriction based on a specific distressing process.

Footwear Products. In patent infringement investigation 337-TA-936, the ITC is inviting comments through Dec. 28 on the presiding administrative law judge’s recommendation to issue ageneral exclusion order directed to footwear products that infringe the trademarks asserted by Converse Inc. as well as cease and desist orders directed against those respondents found to infringe. The products at issue are shoes that allegedly infringe or dilute registered and common law trademarks used in connection with certain Converse shoes, such as the Chuck Taylor All Star.

Comments should address whether the issuance of an exclusion order and/or cease and desist orders could affect the public health and welfare in the U.S., competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the U.S., or U.S. consumers. In particular, the ITC is interested in comments that:

- explain how the articles potentially subject to the recommended orders are used in the U.S.;

- identify any public health, safety or welfare concerns in the U.S. relating to the recommended orders;

- indicate the extent to which like or directly competitive articles are produced in the U.S. or are otherwise available in the U.S.;

- indicate whether the complainant, its licensees and/or third-party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the recommended orders within a commercially reasonable time; and

- explain how the recommended orders would impact consumers in the U.S.

Marine Sonar Systems. In investigation 337-TA-926 the ITC has determined that the importation, sale for importation and/or sale within the U.S. after importation of marine sonar imaging systems, products containing the same and components thereof are infringing patents asserted by Johnson Outdoors Inc. and Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics Inc.

As a result, the ITC has issued (a) a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry of infringing goods that are manufactured or imported by or on behalf of the respondents or any of their affiliated companies, parents, subsidiaries, agents or other related business entities, or their successors or assigns; and (2) cease and desist orders prohibiting the domestic respondents from importing, selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, transferring (except for exportation) and soliciting U.S. agents or distributors for infringing goods in the U.S., except if the owner of the patents authorizes or licenses such specific conduct in writing or such specific conduct is related to the importation or sale of covered products by or for the U.S.

The ITC has also determined that no bond will be required for imports of goods subject to the remedial orders during the 60-day period the president has to review these orders.

Network Devices. The ITC has narrowed the scope of patent infringement investigation 337-TA-945 of network devices, related software and components thereof by terminating it as to certain patent claims asserted by Cisco Systems Inc.

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