January 13, 2011
News Release 11-007
Inv. No. 337-TA-756
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION
ON CERTAIN REDUCED IGNITION PROCLIVITY CIGARETTE PAPER WRAPPERS
AND PRODUCTS CONTAINING SAME
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain reduced ignition proclivity cigarette paper wrappers and products containing same. The products at issue in this investigation are cigarette paper wrappers coated with a substance that makes it likely that the cigarettes will self-extinguish if left unattended and not start an accidental fire.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc., of Alpharetta, GA, on December 17, 2010. Letters supplementing the complaint were filed on January 5, 6, and 11, 2011. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of reduced ignition proclivity cigarette paper wrappers and products containing same that infringe patents asserted by the complainant. The complainant requests that the USITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order.
The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:
Astra Tobacco Corporation of Chapel Hill, NC;
delfortgroup AG of Austria;
LIPtec GmbH of Germany; and
Julius Glatz of GmbH of Germany.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-756), 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 six 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.