Leviton zaps electronics import supply chain

Electronics manufacturer Leviton has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in regards to the sale and use of electronic circuit interrupters made by several Chinese manufacturing firms. The complaint, filed on Sept. 3, al-leges trademark infringement on three patents, which would be violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

The complaint names as respondents Fujian Hongan Electric Co. of Fujian, China; General Protecht Group of Zhejiangm, China; Shanghai ELE Manufacturing Corp. of Shanghai, China; Zhejiang Trimone Co. of Zhejiang, China; and Zhejiang Easting House Electric Co. of Zhejiang, China.

But a number of U.S.-based firms that presumably import and sell the devices are also named in the complaint: Frontier Lighting of Clearwater, Fla.; The Designers Edge of Bellevue, Wash.; Orbit Industries of Los Angeles; Ready Wholesale Electric and Lighting, d/b/a Ready Wholesale Electric Supply of Reseda, Calif.; Sutherland Lumber Co. of Kansas City, Mo.; Aubuchon Hardware of Westminster, Mass.; Westside Wholesale Electric & Lighting, Westside Electric Wholesale and Westside Wholesale of Los Angeles and Bell, Calif.; Contractor Lighting & Supply of Columbus, Ohio; Interline Brands, d/b/a Lighting of Pompano Beach, Fla.; Royal Pacific of Albuquerque, N.M.; Littman Bros. Energy Supplies of Schaumburg, Ill.; Norcross Electric Supply Company of Duluth, Ga.; Menard of Eau Claire, Wis.; Garvin Industries of Franklin Park, Ill.; Central Purchasing and Harbor Freight Tools of Camarillo, Calif.; Warehouse-Lighting.com of Muskego, Wis.; SecurElectric Corp. of Atlanta; GTecht Global Corp. of Atlanta; Deerso of Cape Coral, Fla.; New Aspen Devices Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y.; American Ace Supply of San Francisco; Safety Plus Products of McFarland, Wis.; Ingram Products of Jacksonville, Fla.; and American Electric Depot of Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

All of the companies named above, plus any parties interested in the outcome of the case, are invited to send their comments to the ITC over the next 30 days. The six-person ITC commission will decide whether to forward the case to an administrative hearing judge, who will hold hearings and then rule on whether the charges of patent infringement on the circuit interrupters is valid, according to Peg O'Laughlin, public affairs officer for the U.S. ITC. The six members then review the judge's decision and make the final determination, she said. A further appeal process through a court of law is possible, however.

Comments from interested parties and members of the public, which should not exceed five pages in length, should address whether issuance of an exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order in this investigation would negatively affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

Persons with questions regarding electronic filing should contact 202-205-2000. Letters can also be sent to the U.S. International Trade Commission at 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436