January 3, 2001
News Release 01-001
Inv. No. 337-TA-443

ITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN FLOORING PRODUCTS

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain flooring products. The products at issue in this investigation are flooring panels, particularly laminate flooring panels, with interlocking strips and grooves on the edges that enable the panels to be mechanically joined without the use of an adhesive.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Alloc, Inc., of Racine, Wisconsin; Berry Finance N.V. of Oostrozebeke, Belgium; and VAlinge Aluminium AB, of Viken, Sweden, on December 4, 2000. A supplement to the complaint was filed on December 22, 2000. The complaint, as supplemented, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain flooring products that infringe two patents owned by VAlinge, which have been exclusively licensed to Berry and sublicensed to Alloc with respect to laminate flooring products. Complainants request that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders.

The ITC has identified the following companies as respondents in the investigation:

Unilin Decor N.V. of Wielsbeke, Belgium;
BHK of America, Inc., of Central Valley, NY;
Pergo, Inc., of Raleigh, NC;
Meister-Leisten Schulte GmbH of Ruthen, Germany;
Akzenta Paneele + Profile GmbH of Kaisersesch, Germany;
Tarkett, Inc., of Whitehall, PA; and
Roysol of Saint Florentin, France.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-443), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Judge Luckern, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. Judge Luckern 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 ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the President of the United States within that 60-day period.

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