On July 1, 2014, Choon’s Design Inc. of Wixom, Michigan (“Choon’s”) 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 loom kits for creating linked articles that infringe claims 2-4 of U.S. Patent No. 8,485,565 (the ‘565 patent):

  • Wangying of China
  • Island In The Sun LLC of Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Quality Innovations Inc. of Irwindale, California
  • Yiwu Mengwang Craft & Art Factory of China
  • Shenzhen Xuncent Technology Co., Ltd. of China
  • Altatac Inc. of Los Angeles, California
  • My Imports USA LLC of Edison, New Jersey
  • Jayfinn LLC of Gilbert, Arizona
  • Creative Kidstuff, LLC of Minneapolis, MN
  • Hongkong Haoguan Plastic Hardware Co., Ltd. of China
  • Blinkee.com, LLC of Fairfax, California
  • Eyyup Arga of Lodi, New Jersey
  • Itcoolnomore of China

According to the complaint, the ‘565 patent generally relates to a method and device for creating a linked item.  In particular, the ‘565 patent relates to a special loom that is used to form a series of “Brunnian links” from closed links (usually small elastic bands), doubled over themselves to capture another closed link and to form a chain.  Pins are used to provide an area for linking and looping the links.

In the complaint, Choon’s states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the ‘565 patent.  The complaint specifically refers to various products associated with the Proposed Respondents, including, for example, the Magical Loom and the Loom Bands Kit Colorful DIY.

Regarding domestic industry, Choon’s states that its Rainbow Loom practices the ‘565 patent in the U.S.  Choon’s further states that its U.S. licensees, Toner Plastics, Inc. and The Beadery, manufacture and sell the Wonder Loom, which practices certain claims of the ‘565 patent other than asserted claims 2-4.  As to the economic prong, Choon’s states that it has made and continues to make significant investments in plant and equipment in the U.S.  Choon’s specifically refers to its principal place of business in Wixom, Michigan, where it stores products covered by the ‘565 patent and ships those products to customers.  In addition, Choon’s states that its licensees assemble the Wonder Loom in the U.S., and that the Wonder Loom is made of over 90% U.S.-based components.  Choon’s further states that it has engaged in a significant employment of labor and capital in the U.S. Choon’s states it employs workers such as graphic and web designers, support staff, warehouse workers, and sales associates in the U.S., and that its licensees further employ individuals involved in the production of the Wonder Loom.  Choon’s also refers to its licenses to Toner Plastics, Inc. and The Beadery to support domestic industry.

As to related litigation, Choon’s states that it is presently engaged in eight litigations in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where it is asserting the ‘565 against various entities.  In addition, Choon’s states that the ‘565 patent is currently the subject of an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but that claims 2-4 are not being challenged in the IPR.

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