On January 30, 2012, MT.Derm GmbH of Germany (“MT.Derm”) and Nouveau Cosmetique USA Inc. of Orlando, Florida (collectively, the “Complainants”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that T-Tech Tattoo Device Inc. of Canada (“T-Tech”), Yiwu Beyond Tattoo Equipments Co., Ltd. of China (“Yiwu”), and Guangzhou Pengcheng Cosmetology Firm of China (“Guangzhou”) (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, sell within the U.S. after importation, and/or offer for sale within the U.S. after importation certain ink application devices and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,345,553 (the ‘553 patent) and 6,505,530 (the ‘530 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).
According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to ink application devices for tattooing, applying permanent makeup, scar concealment, and areola reconstruction and methods of using these devices. More specifically, the asserted patents relate to ink application devices that use disposable cartridges designed to reduce or eliminate health risks associated with tattooing and the application of permanent makeup.
In the complaint, the Complainants state that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically names T-Tech’s EZ Needle Cartridges and certain Yiwu and Guangzhou needle cartridges as infringing products.
Regarding domestic industry, the complaint states that MT.Derm has made a substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents in the U.S. through the design, manufacturing, assembly, marketing, and sale of its PMU medical devices, handsets, and disposable cartridges. The complaint states that MT.Derm’s PMU and tattoo devices and disposable needle cartridges embody all of the features claimed in certain claims of the asserted patents. Additionally, the complaint refers to the Complainants’ investment in U.S. labor, training and education, customer support, research and development, and commercial property all in further exploitation of the asserted patents.
As to related litigation, the Complainants state that on April 4, 2004, MT.Derm’s predecessor filed a civil action against Le Belle International, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging infringement of the ‘553 patent. According to the complaint, this case was dismissed without prejudice based on a settlement agreement. Additionally, the Complainants state that on July 6, 2009, MT.Derm filed a civil action against Stacey Diorio (an individual doing business as “Natural Profile”) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging infringement of the ‘553 and ‘530 patents. According to the complaint, this case was also dismissed without prejudice based on a settlement agreement.
With respect to potential remedy, the Complainants request that the Commission issue a permanent general exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents, their affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, licensees, agents, contractors, and other related entities. The Complainants state that a general exclusion order is warranted because a widespread pattern of infringement exists, the source of infringing products is difficult to identify, and a limited exclusion order is likely to be circumvented.