On June 17, 2011, Kaneka Corporation of Japan (“Kaneka”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. of China and ZMC-USA, L.L.C. of The Woodlands, Texas (collectively, “ZMC”), Xiamen Kingdomway Group Co. of China (“XKGC”), Pacific Rainbow International Inc. of City of Industry, California (“PRI”), Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. of Japan (“MGCC”), Maypro Industries, Inc. of Purchase, New York (“MAYPRO”), and Shenzhou Biology & Technology Co., Ltd. of China (“SBTC”) (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain Coenzyme Q10 products made by certain processes that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,910,340 (the ‘340 patent).
According to the complaint, the ‘340 patent generally relates to novel processes for producing oxidized Coenzyme Q10 on an industrial scale. The complaint states that Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful, fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance that is found naturally in all forms of animal life and is vital in the production of energy.
In the complaint, Kaneka alleges that the Proposed Respondents manufacture, import and/or sell products that infringe the ‘340 patent. The complaint specifically identifies a number of infringing products that are produced and/or sold by the various Proposed Respondents.
Regarding domestic industry, Kaneka states that its own Coenzyme Q10 products, including the “KanekaQ10” and “Kaneka Q10 Emulsified Powder” are made by processes that practice one or more claims of the ‘340 patent. As to the economic prong, Kaneka refers to its wholly-owned subsidiary Kaneka Nutrients L.P. of Pasadena, Texas (“KNL”) and states that KNL manufactures, markets, and sells the KanekaQ10 product in the U.S. Kaneka also states that many U.S. brands formulate their Coenzyme Q10 products with Kaneka’s own KanekaQ10 product, and that KanekaQ10 is incorporated into a variety of finished products sold in the U.S. including cosmetics, oral care products, and beverages. Kaneka further states that it has funded Coenzyme Q10 research projects in the U.S.
As to related litigation, Kaneka states that on March 22, 2011, it filed suit against the Proposed Respondents in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging infringement of the ‘340 patent. Kaneka states that this district court case is currently pending. Additionally, Kaneka states that on March 21, 2011, ZMC filed a declaratory judgment action against Kaneka in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in connection with the ‘340 patent. Kaneka further states that on March 22, 2011, ZMC filed a second declaratory judgment action against Kaneka in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in connection with the ‘340 patent. Lastly, Kaneka states that on May 28, 2009, it filed suit against XKGC and PRI in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,145,044 (the ‘044 patent), which relates to methods for producing reduced Coenzyme Q10. According to the complaint, the parties to this 2009 case reached a settlement whereby XKGC and PRI acknowledged the validity and enforceability of the ‘044 patent and agreed to discontinue their reduced Coenzyme Q10 products in the U.S. for the remainder of the ‘044 patent’s lifetime.
With respect to potential remedy, Kaneka requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order — or in the alternative, a limited exclusion order — and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.