The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain blow-molded bag-in-container devices, associated components, and end products containing or using same. The products at issue in the investigation are bag-in-container systems, associated components, and end products that allow for pressurized gas to be introduced into the system while preventing contact between the gas and beverage (usually beer) within the container.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. of Leuven, Belgium, and Anheuser-Busch, LLC, of St. Louis, MO, on April 30, 2018. Supplements to the complaint were filed on May 4, 2018, and May 15, 2018. The complaint, as supplemented, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain blow-molded bag-in-container devices, associated components, and end products containing or using same that infringe patents asserted by the complainants. The complainants request that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.
The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:
Heineken International B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Heineken N.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Heineken USA Inc. of White Plains, NY;
Heineken Holding N.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Heineken Beer Systems B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Heineken Brouwerijen B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Heineken Export Americas B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands; and
Heineken Global Procurement B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1115), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.
The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.