The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain convertible sofas and components thereof. The products at issue in the investigation are convertible sofas that include the unitary combination of two upholstered seating areas, each bordered on the lateral end with a vertical armrest, such areas being separated by a flat table member that can be placed substantially level with the seating areas as well as raised above the level of the seating areas to various degrees to provide an open space beneath the table and for the full width of the table. In addition, the sofa includes a full width, integral backrest that can be folded down on top of the seats and table to provide a sleep/rest surface.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Sauder Manufacturing Company of Archbold, OH, on June 7, 2018. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain convertible sofas and components thereof that infringe a patent asserted by the complainant. The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.
The USITC has identified Krug, Inc., of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, as the respondent in this investigation.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1122), 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.