The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain laser abraded denim garments. The products at issue in this investigation are denim garments, including jeans and leggings, that have been abraded with a laser to apply designs or to simulate wear.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by RevoLaze, LLC, and TechnoLines, LLC, both of Westlake, OH, on August 18, 2014. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain laser abraded denim garments that infringe patents asserted by the complainants. The complainants request that the USITC issue a general exclusion order, or in the alternative a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders.
The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. of New Albany, OH;
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., of Pittsburgh, PA;
BBC Apparel Group, LLC, of New York, NY;
Gotham Licensing Group, LLC, of New York, NY;
The Buckle, Inc., of Kearney, NE;
Buffalo International ULC of Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
1724982 Alberta ULC of Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
Diesel S.p.A. of Breganze (VI), Italy;
DL1961 Premium Denim Inc. of New York, NY;
Eddie Bauer LLC of Bellevue, WA;
The Gap, Inc., of San Francisco, CA;
Guess?, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA;
H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB of Stockholm, Sweden;
H&M Hennes & Mauritz LP of New York, NY;
Roberto Cavalli S.p.A. of Milan, Italy;
Koos Manufacturing, Inc., of South Gate, CA;
Levi Strauss & Co. of San Francisco, CA;
Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA;
Fashion Box S.p.A. of Asolo (Treviso), Italy; and
VF Corporation of Greensboro, NC.
By instituting this investigation (337-TA-930), 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.