On August 18, 2014, RevoLaze, LLC and TechnoLines, LLC (collectively, "RevoLaze")—both of Westlake, Ohio—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 laser abraded denim garments that are manufactured by methods that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,990,444 (the '444 patent), 6,140,602 (the '602 patent), 6,252,196 (the '196 patent), 6,664,505 (the '505 patent), 6,819,972 (the '972 patent), and 6,858,815 (the '815 patent) (collectively, the "asserted patents"):
- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. of New Albany, Ohio
- American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- BBC Apparel Group, LLC of New York, New York
- Gotham Licensing Group, LLC of New York, New York
- The Buckle, Inc. of Kearney, Nebraska
- Buffalo International ULC of Canada
- Diesel S.p.A. of Italy
- DL1961 Premium Denim Inc. of New York, New York
- Eddie Bauer LLC of Bellevue, Washington
- The Gap, Inc. of San Francisco, California
- Guess?, Inc. of Los Angeles, California
- H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB of Sweden
- H&M Hennes & Mauritz LP of New York, New York
- Roberto Cavalli S.p.A. of Italy
- Koos Manufacturing, Inc. of South Gate, California
- Levi Strauss & Co. of San Francisco, California
- Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. of Los Angeles, California
- Fashion Box S.p.A. of Italy
- VF Corp. of Greensboro, North Carolina
According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to laser technology for abrading denim. In particular, the '444 patent relates to a method of scribing with a laser on material such as denim. The '602 patent relates to a method and apparatus for forming a design on material such as denim with a laser. The '196 patent relates to a method to prevent over etching of material such as denim with a laser. The '972 patent relates to a method and apparatus for changing the power of a laser beam "on the fly." The '505 patent relates to a method for forming images on a material such as denim with a laser. Lastly, the '815 patent relates to laser scribing material such as denim.
In the complaint, RevoLaze states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that are manufactured by methods that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to various denim products associated with the Proposed Respondents.
Regarding domestic industry, RevoLaze states that it is currently in the process of establishing a domestic industry by utilizing linear processing of rolls of denim or other materials using the technology of the asserted patents. RevoLaze further states that it is in the process of developing a domestic industry for sports apparel marking using the technology of the asserted patents. In addition, RevoLaze states that it has licensed the technology of the asserted patents to Green Bay Decking LLC to scribe simulated wood grain patterns on composite decking. RevoLaze also states that it has licensed the asserted patents to Lear Corp., GST AutoLeather, Inc., and DVUV, LLC. RevoLaze states that it and its licensees have made substantial investments in plant and equipment, labor and capital, and exploitation of the asserted patents in the U.S.
As to related litigation, RevoLaze states that on August 15, 2014, it filed seventeen complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, accusing each of the Proposed Respondents of infringing one or more of the asserted patents.
With respect to potential remedy, RevoLaze 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. RevoLaze also states that a general exclusion order is warranted because there is a pattern of violation of Section 337, and it is difficult to identify the sources of all infringing products.