On April 3, 2013, Okin America, Inc. of Frederick, Maryland and Dewert Okin GmbH of Germany (collectively, “Okin”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that Changzhou Kaidi Electrical Co. Ltd. of China and Kaidi LLC of Eaton Rapids, Michigan (collectively, “Kaidi”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain linear actuators (also known as “drives”) for adjusting parts of seating and reclining furniture that infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,927,144 (the ‘144 patent).
According to the complaint, the ‘144 patent generally relates to a linear actuator in which an electric motor using a worm gear drives a spindle on which a spindle nut is mounted, which converts the rotary movement of the spindle to linear movement of the nut. A clevis at the end of the actuator is connected to parts of a chair; moveable parts of the chair are connected to a spindle nut. The small fitting dimensions make it ideal for recliner chairs with lifting assistance.
In the complaint, Okin states that Kaidi imports and sells products that infringe the ‘144 patent. The complaint specifically refers to the Kaidi KDPT005 actuator as an infringing product.
Regarding domestic industry, Okin states that its Betadrive product practices the ‘144 patent. Okin further states that, since 2012, it has been manufacturing a significant number of Betadrives at its plant in Shannon, Mississippi, where it has made substantial investments in manufacturing equipment and where it employs a significant number of workers.
With respect to potential remedy, Okin requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at Kaidi, its affiliates, and others acting on its behalf.