On August 21, 2013, A&J Manufacturing, LLC of St. Simons, Georgia and A&J Manufacturing, Inc. of Green Cove Springs, Florida (collectively, “A&J”) 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 multiple mode outdoor grills and parts thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,381,712 (the ‘712 patent), D660,646 (the ‘646 patent), and D662,773 (the ‘773 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • The Brinkmann Corporation of Dallas, Texas
  • W.C. Bradley Co. of Columbus, Georgia
  • GHP Group, Inc. of Morton Grove, Illinois
  • Kamado Joe Company of Duluth, Georgia
  • Outdoor Leisure Products, Inc. of Neosho, Missouri
  • Rankam Group of Gardena, California
  • Academy Ltd. of Katy, Texas
  • HEB Grocery Company, LP of San Antonio, Texas
  • Kmart Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Illinois
  • Sears Brands Management Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Illinois
  • Sears Holdings Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Illinois
  • Sears, Roebuck & Company of Hoffman Estates, Illinois
  • Tractor Supply Company of Brentwood, Tennessee
  • Guangdong Canbo Electrical Co., Ltd. of China
  • Chant Kitchen Equipment (HK), Ltd. of China
  • Dongguan Kingsun Enterprises Co., Ltd. of China
  • Zhejiang Fudeer of China
  • Ningbo Huige of China
  • Keesung Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of China
  • Ningbo Spring Communication Technologies Co. Ltd. of China
  • Wuxi Joyray International Corp. of China

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to multiple mode outdoor grills, that is, grills that permit simultaneous cooking with gas and solid fuels.  In particular, the ‘712 patent relates to a simultaneous multiple-mode cooking grill mounted on a common supporting structure.  The ‘646 and ‘773 patents relate to ornamental design features in the lids and exhaust vents of multiple mode cooking grills.

In the complaint, A&J states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell multiple mode grills that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to various grills associated with the Proposed Respondents.

Regarding domestic industry, A&J states that its Char-Griller Duo, Char-Griller Trio, and King Griller Double Play products practice certain claims of the asserted patents.  As to the economic prong, A&J states that it maintains facilities in the U.S. for design, engineering, development, testing, marketing, and distributing of products that practice the asserted patents.  A&J also allegedly maintains facilities in the U.S. to supply customer support, quality assurance, warranty fulfillment, and replacement parts for its products that practice the asserted patents.

As to related litigation, A&J states that, concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, it is also filing 10 complaints for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

With respect to potential remedy, A&J 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.  A&J states that a general exclusion order is warranted because there is a pattern of violation of Section 337, and it is difficult to identify all the sources of infringing products.