May 11, 2006
News Release 06-044
Inv. No. 337-TA-569
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain endoscopic probes for use in argon plasma coagulation systems. The products at issue in this investigation are flexible catheter probes with a blue tube design used to coagulate tissue during endoscopic surgical procedures.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH of Germany and ERBE USA, Inc., of Marietta, GA, on April 10, 2006. A supplement to the complaint was filed on May 2, 2006. The complaint 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 endoscopic probes for use in argon plasma coagulation systems that infringe a patent and a registered trademark owned by ERBE of Germany and ERBE USA, respectively. The complainants request that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order.

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

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-569), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to the Honorable Sidney Harris, an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. Judge Harris 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 U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.

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