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Denim Garments Accused of Patent Infringement; Import Restrictions Sought

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission received Aug. 18 on behalf of RevoLaze LLC and Technolines LLC a petition requesting that it institute a Section 337 patent infringement investigation regarding certain laser abraded denim garments. The complainants have requested that the ITC impose a general exclusion order, which would direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop all infringing imports (not just those from the named respondents) from entering the U.S. In addition, the ITC could issue cease and desist orders prohibiting the named respondents and other persons from engaging in unfair acts that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory.

The 17 proposed respondents are located in Canada, Sweden, Italy and the U.S. The complainants have also filed separate patent infringement lawsuits against each respondent in U.S. district court.

RevoLaze states that it holds 29 worldwide patents for laser scribing methods to impart graphics and patterns on a variety of substrates and that a significant portion of its intellectual property discloses the use of this laser scribing technology for fabrics such as denim. This technology “replaces the sandblast process used in the creation of ‘worn look’ denim jeans,” the company states, which has been found to be associated with certain health problems for workers. It also “dramatically conserves water and reduces the amount of chemicals used in denim manufacturing.” However, the company has found that this patented technology is being used illegally and is therefore “asking the ITC to provide us protection.”

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