On October 27, 2016, Celanese International Corp. of Irving, Texas, Celanese Sales U.S. Ltd. of Irving, Texas, and Celanese IP Hungary Bt of Hungary (collectively, “Celanese”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Suzhou Hope Technology Co., Ltd. of China, Anhui Jinhe Industrial Co., Ltd. of China, and Vitasweet Co., Ltd. of China (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain high-potency sweeteners and products containing same that infringe, or are made by a process that infringes, one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,024,016 (the ’016 patent).

According to the complaint, the ’016 patent generally relates to an improved process for producing Ace-K, a high-potency sweetener often used as a sugar replacement in foods and beverages. In particular, the ’016 patent relates to a process for producing Ace-K with lower levels of acetic acid, which results in a whiter (and consequently less yellow) product.

In the complaint, Celanese states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the ’016 patent. The complaint specifically refers to Ace-K products associated with the Proposed Respondents as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Celanese states that its own high-potency sweetener products are covered by claims of the ’016 patent. Celanese further states that it engages in relevant research, design, engineering, development, distribution, and technical support activities in the U.S. related to its domestic industry products. Celanese cites to a confidential declaration submitted with its complaint to support its domestic industry allegations.

With respect to potential remedy, Celanese requests that the Commission issue a permanent general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and permanent cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents and related entities. Celanese states that a general exclusion order is warranted because, inter alia, Ace-K is an odorless, white, crystalline powder whose source cannot be identified independent of any packaging and labeling.