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United States:

ALJ Lord Grants Summary Determination On Violation Of Section 337 In Certain Electronic Candle Products (337-TA-1195)

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On April 23, 2021, ALJ Dee Lord issued the 
public
 
version
 of Order No. 41 (dated April 2, 2021) finding a
violation of section 337 in Certain Electronic Candle
Products and Components Thereof
 (Inv. No.
337-TA-1195).

By way of background, this investigation was instituted on March
31, 2020 based on a complaint filed by L&L Candle Company LLC
of Brea, California and Sotera Tschetter, Inc. of St. Paul,
Minnesota (collectively “Complainants”) against 22
respondents alleging violations of section 337 by reason of
infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,550,660 (“the ‘660
patent”), 9,366,402 (“the ‘402 patent”),
9,512,971 (“the ‘971 patent”), 9,523,471 (“the
‘471 patent”), and 10,533,718 (“the ‘718
patent”). The asserted patents and accused products relate to
artificial candles that simulate a flame effect using electronic
components. Many of the respondents settled, entered consent
orders, or both. Remaining respondents Veraflame International,
Inc. (“Veraflame”); Ningbo Mascube Import Export Company
(“Ningbo Mascube”); Virtual Candles Limited
(“Virtual Candles”); Yiwu Shengda Art Co., Ltd.
(“Yiwu”); and Ningbo Shanhuang Electric Appliance Co.
(“Ningbo Shanhuang”) were found in default (collectively
“Defaulting Respondents”).

According to the order, Complainants filed a motion for summary
determination of violation of section 337 and a recommended
determination on remedy and bonding with respect to the Defaulting
Respondents. Based on the infringement claim charts attached to the
complaint and an analysis by Complainants’ expert, ALJ Lord
determined that there was a violation of section 337 in the
importation and/or sale of certain electronic candle products and
components thereof that infringe the asserted claims of the
‘402, ‘971, ‘471, and ‘718 patents by the
Defaulting Respondents.

With respect to domestic industry, the ALJ agreed with
Complainants that the economic prong is satisfied by their
engineering, research, design, and development activities for
products practicing the asserted patents, noting that
“Complainants’ domestic operations are significant and
substantial, both from an economic standpoint and in the context of
the exploitation of the protected technology.” ALJ Lord
likewise found that the technical prong is met by Complainants
domestic industry products that practice at least one claim of the
asserted patents.

Regarding remedy, ALJ Lord determined that due to “a
pattern of widespread infringement that is extremely difficult to
detect and redress,” a limited exclusion order would not
suffice to remedy the violations found in this investigation, and
therefore recommended “that if a violation is found, the
Commission issue a GEO.”

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