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IPR Enforcement Actions on Footwear, Snowmobiles, Cinema Systems, Microphones

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Footwear Products. The International Trade Commission has instituted investigation 337-TA-936 to determine whether imports of certain footwear products are violating Section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act. The products at issue in this investigation 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.

Complainant Converse Inc. requests that after this investigation the ITC issue an exclusion order, which would direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prohibit the entry of the infringing products into the U.S., and cease and desist orders, which would require the named respondents to cease actions that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory. The respondents in this investigation are located in Italy, Australia, Japan, Canada, China and the U.S.

Snowmobiles, Cinema Systems. The International Trade Commission received Nov. 7 separate petitions requesting that it institute Section 337 investigations regarding the following products.

- snowmobiles with engines having exhaust temperature-controlled engine technology (filed on behalf of Arctic Cat Inc.; respondents located in Canada and the U.S.)

- three-dimensional cinema systems (filed on behalf of RealID Inc.; respondents located in Korea and the U.S.)

Section 337 investigations primarily involve claims regarding intellectual property rights violations by imported goods, including the infringement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. Other forms of unfair competition involving imported products, such as misappropriation of trade secrets or trade dress and false advertising, may also be asserted. The primary remedy available in Section 337 investigations is an exclusion order that directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop infringing imports from entering the U.S. In addition, the ITC may issue cease and desist orders against named importers and other persons engaged in unfair acts that violate Section 337, including selling infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory.

Silicon Microphone Packages. In investigation 337-TA-888, the International Trade Commission has determined to review in part a final initial determination that the importation, sale for importation and sale within the U.S. after importation of certain silicon microphone packages and products containing same are violating certain patents owned by Knowles Electronics LLC. The presiding administrative law judge has previously recommended that the ITC issue a limited exclusion order directed to respondents’ accused products that infringe the specified patents but did not recommend the issuance of a cease and desist order.

In connection with the final disposition of this investigation the ITC may issue an order that could result in the exclusion of the subject articles from entry into the United States and/or one or more orders that could result in the respondents being required to cease and desist from engaging in unfair acts in the importation and sale of such articles. Accordingly, the ITC is interested in receiving no later than Nov. 20 written submissions that address (a) the form of remedy, if any, that should be ordered, (b) the effects of any such remedy on the public health and welfare, competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, U.S. production of articles that are like or directly competitive with those that are subject to investigation, and U.S. consumers, and (c) the amount of the bond under which infringing articles could continue to enter the U.S. during the 60-day period the president has to review any ITC-ordered remedy.

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