On April 4, 2016, WCM Industries, Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colorado (“WCM”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain overflow and drain assemblies for bathtubs and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,302,220 (the ‘220 patent), 8,321,970 (the ‘970 patent), 8,584,272 (the ‘272 patent), and 9,200,436 (the ‘436 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Federal Process Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio
  • J&B Products, Inc. of South Bend, Indiana
  • Bridging Partners Corp. of Taiwan
  • Keeney Manufacturing Co. of Newington, Connecticut
  • Better Enterprise Co. Ltd. of Taiwan
  • Everflow Industrial Supply Corp. of Taiwan

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to bathtub overflow and drain assembly technology. In particular, the ‘220 patent relates to a bathtub overflow and drain assembly comprising an overflow pipe with an elbow portion, a nut element, and a cap that fits over the nut. The ‘970 patent relates to a plumbing system for interconnection to an overflow and drain port of a bathtub, comprising an overflow pipe with an elbow portion, a nut element, a cap that fits over the nut, and an insert associated with a strainer. The ‘272 patent relates to a plumbing system for interconnection to an overflow and drain port of a bathtub, comprising an overflow pipe with an elbow portion, a device for affixing the overflow pipe to a bathtub sidewall, a cap that fits over the device, and a wastewater drain assembly. Lastly, the ‘436 patent relates to a bathtub overflow and drain assembly comprising an overflow elbow, a nut element, and a cap detachably associated with and covering the nut.

In the complaint, WCM states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to various products associated with the Proposed Respondents as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, WCM states that its Innovator Products practice at least one claim of each asserted patent. According to the complaint, WCM conducts significant, substantial, and extensive activities in the U.S. related to these products, including engineering, research, development, and manufacturing. WCM specifically refers to manufacturing facilities in Colorado, Missouri, and Texas.

As to related litigation, WCM states that, since 2013, it has been involved in a litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee where it is asserting the ‘220, ‘970, and ‘272 patents against a non-respondent, IPS Corp. WCM also refers to additional complaints that it recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee accusing certain of the Proposed Respondents of infringing the asserted patents.

With respect to potential remedy, WCM requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.