On June 22, 2016, Schütz Container Systems Inc. of North Branch, New Jersey (“Schütz”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that Zhenjiang Runzhou Jinshan Packaging Factory of China (“Jinshan”) unlawfully imports into the U.S. certain intermediate bulk containers (“IBCs”) that infringe Schütz’s trade dress.
According to the complaint, the relevant composite IBCs consist of a plastic bottle in which liquid may be stored or transported, an outer steel cage, and a pallet. The Schütz trade dress at issue includes, without limitation, round-shaped horizontal and vertical bars, the placement and spacing of those bars, notches where the bars meet, the placement and size of the label plate, a smooth (non-ridged) style of plastic bottle, and the appearance of the corner feet, including fluting on the feet.
In the complaint, Schütz states that Jinshan indirectly imports into the U.S. products that infringe Schütz’s trade dress. In particular, the complaint alleges that chemical distributors such as Chemsol, LLC import liquid-filled Jinshan IBCs into the U.S. for distribution to other U.S. entities.
Regarding domestic industry, Schütz states that it manufactures, markets, sells, and services IBCs in the U.S. that are protected by the asserted trade dress. Schütz further states that it has invested millions of dollars in U.S. plant and equipment relating to such IBCs. Schütz also states that it employs over 900 people in the U.S., a large majority of whom are involved in the production, marketing, or sales of IBCs protected by the asserted trade dress. Schütz specifically refers to relevant facilities in New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, California, North Carolina, and Missouri. In addition, Schütz states that Jinshan’s actions have threatened and caused, and will continue to threaten and cause, substantial injury to Schütz’s domestic industry relating to IBCs protected by the asserted trade dress.
With respect to potential remedy, Schütz requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order directed at Jinshan.