ITC Decision in Textile Fabrics Demonstrates Section 337’s Potential Application to False Advertising Claims Certain Woven Textile Fabrics and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-976. The GEO will prohibit the entry of certain woven textile fabrics and products containing same that are falsely advertised through a misrepresentation of thread count. The GEO is based on a complaint filed by AAVN alleging false advertising in violation of Section 337 by the importation of bed sheets, where the Respondent Pradip’s “800 Thread Count” bed sheets were measured by AAVN at 252.7 threads.
The case is notable in highlighting Section 337’s broad scope, beyond traditional IP infringement claims, to cover a wide range of unfair acts in importation. The sole allegation against Pradip in Textile Fabrics was false advertising under Section 43 of the Lanham Act. In determining that false advertising had occurred, the presiding administrative law judge employed the five-element test used by federal courts to find that 1) Pradip made false or misleading statements about the thread count of its products; 2) evidence showing the true thread counts proved that actual deception had occurred; 3) the deception was material because evidence showed that “thread count is an important indicator of fabric quality for consumers and is used by consumers in making a purchasing decision”; 4) the bed sheets traveled in interstate commerce; and 5) AAVN demonstrated actual injury through lost sales resulting from Pradip’s falsely advertised sheets.
Furthermore, a GEO was determined to be the proper ITC remedy because the evidence showed a widespread pattern of violation, and that it is “difficult, if not impossible” to identify the sources and manufacturers of the falsely advertised bed sheets.