August 24, 2006
News Release 06-081
Inv. No. 337-TA-579
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

ITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN NICKEL METAL HYDRIDE CONSUMER BATTERIES, COMPONENTS THEREOF, AND CONSUMER ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS CONTAINING THE SAME

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain nickel metal hydride consumer batteries, components thereof, and consumer electronic products containing the same. The products at issue in this investigation are light weight rechargeable batteries that are used in a variety of products.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Ovonic Battery Company, Inc., of Rochester Hills, MI, on July 26, 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 nickel metal hydride consumer batteries, components thereof, and consumer electronic products containing the same that infringe a patent owned by the complainant. The complainant requests that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order.

The ITC has identified Varta Aktiengesellschaft, of Hanover, Germany, Varta Microbattery GmbH, of Ellwangen, Germany, and Varta Microbattery, Inc., of White Plains, NY, as the respondents in this investigation.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-579), 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.

-- 30 --