On May 17, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission”) issued a press release announcing their vote to institute an investigation of Certain Robotic Vacuum Cleaning Devices and Components Thereof Such As Spare Parts (Inv. No. 337-TA-1057).

By way of background, this investigation is based on an April 18, 2017 complaint filed by iRobot Corp. of Bedford, Massachusetts alleging violation of Section 337 by way of unlawful importation into the U.S., selling for importation, and/or selling within the U.S. after importation of certain robotic vacuum cleaning devices and components thereof such as spare parts that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,809,490; 7,155,308; 8,474,090; 8,600,553; 9,038,233; and 9,486,924. See our April 26, 2017 post for more details on the complaint.

According to the Notice of Investigation, the Commission has identified the following as the respondents in this matter:

  • Bissell Homecare, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Hoover Inc. of Glenwillow, Ohio
  • Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co. Inc. d/b/a TTI Floor Care North America, Inc. of Glenwillow, Ohio
  • Bobsweep, Inc. of Canada
  • Bobsweep USA of Henderson, Nevada
  • The Black & Decker Corporation of Towson, Maryland
  • Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc. of Towson, Maryland
  • Shenzhen ZhiYi Technology Co., Ltd. d/b/a iLife of China
  • Matsutek Enterprises Co., Ltd. of Taiwan
  • Suzhou Real Power Electric Appliance Co., Ltd. of China
  • Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. of China

The Notice of Investigation further indicates that the Office of Unfair Import Investigations will not participate as a party in the investigation.

Lastly, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice indicating that Thomas B. Pender will be the presiding Administrative Law Judge in this matter.