On November 6, 2015,  Hydor USA Inc. of Sacramento, California (“Hydor”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Jebao Co., Ltd. of China (“Jebao”) unlawfully imports into the U.S., sells for importation, and/or sells within the U.S. after importation certain aquarium fittings and parts thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,191,846 (the ‘846 patent). 

According to the complaint, the ‘846 patent generally relates to a way of attaching various machines such as wave makers, water level controllers, and skimmers to the walls of a large aquarium, while still keeping such machines removable for cleaning and servicing.  In particular, the technology of the ‘846 patent provides a support for an aquarium machine via two parts containing magnets, which are located on opposites sides of the glass aquarium wall.  The magnets are each covered in a resilient material, preferably parylene, and the mount has a cover made of flexible elastomer with a lip to help create suction when the magnetic force between the magnet pulls the two parts towards each other and against the glass aquarium wall.

In the complaint, Hydor states that Jebao imports and sells products that infringe the ‘846 patent.  The complaint specifically refers to the Jebao Wave Maker and the Jebao Propeller Pump as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Hydor states that its Koralia Circulation and Wave Pumps, Smart Level Controls, and Slim Skim Skimmers all practice at least one claim of the ‘846 patent and are marked with such patent.  Hydor further states that it has made and continues to make significant investments in plant and equipment, a significant employment of labor or capital, and substantial investments in the exploitation of the ‘846 patent in the U.S.  Hydor refers to a confidential declaration submitted with its complaint to support its domestic industry allegations.

With respect to potential remedy, Hydor requests that the Commission issue a permanent general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and a permanent cease and desist order directed at Jebao and others acting on its behalf.  Hydor 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 of the sources of infringing products entering the U.S.