On Dec. 7, 2018, Extang Corporation and Laurmark Enterprises, Inc. (collectively, Extang) filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging patent and trademark infringement by all companies that import certain pickup truck folding bed covers and parts of those covers.
In the complaint, Extang alleges that many different companies import pickup truck bed covers that infringe Extang’s patents and trademarks. Extang identifies several companies by name but says it cannot identify all of the companies infringing its rights. Thus, Extang asks the ITC to issue a general exclusion order directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize all such pickup truck bed covers, even if the company making, selling or importing the products is not named in Extang’s complaint.
As explained in a previous McGuireWoods alert, “Effectively Sued But Not Named — General Exclusion Orders at the ITC,” this extraordinary relief from the ITC is allowed by law where there is widespread infringement and the infringers may be difficult to identify. Because the ITC’s notices are published in the Federal Register, the law presumes that notice has been given worldwide.
Further, companies that import pickup truck bed covers sold by the companies named below may experience the disruptive effect of such an order quite soon, since Extang seeks a temporary exclusion order.
- Stehlen Automotive
- Topline Autoparts, Inc.
- Velocity Concepts Inc.
- JL Concepts Inc.
- DT Trading Inc.
- Wenzhou Kouvi Hardware Products Co., Ltd.
- Syppo Marketing, Inc.
- Apex Auto Parts Mfg. Inc.
- Ningo Huadian Cross Country
- Sunwood Industries Co., Ltd.
Thus, the ITC judge could issue a decision within 70 days after the ITC starts the investigation, and the ITC could issue exclusion orders within 90 days after the ITC starts the investigation. After the full investigation concludes in approximately 16 months, all imports — from any company in the world — would be at risk of seizure by customs.
For more information concerning this matter, please contact your McGuireWoods representative or Steve Adkins in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office at +1 202 669 9630.