By Alex Englehart
On July 25, 2013, The Clorox Company of Oakland, California (“Clorox”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Industrias Alen, S.A. de C.V. of Mexico and Alen USA, LLC of Houston, Texas (collectively, “Alen”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain laundry and household cleaning products and packaging thereof under the trademarks CLORALEX and PINOL.  According to the complaint, these designations infringe and dilute Clorox’s CLOROX and PINE-SOL marks as shown in various registered U.S. trademarks.

In the complaint, Clorox states that it markets many bleach and cleaning products under the CLOROX mark, including liquid bleaches, all-fabric bleach liquid, laundry bleach powder, toilet bowl cleaners, and disinfecting wipes.  According to the complaint, the CLOROX mark has been federally registered since 1915 and Clorox has used the CLOROX mark continuously since that date.  The complaint further states that Clorox sells household all-purpose cleaners under the PINE-SOL mark.

The complaint states that Alen imports and sells products that infringe and dilute the CLOROX and PINE-SOL marks.  The complaint specifically refers to CLORALEX Triple Action bleach, color, Max bleach, Floral Fantasy bleach, Lemon Fresh bleach, Plus bleach, Plus wipes, Ultra bleach, and 99 household cleaner, as well as PINOL liquid cleaning product, HD liquid cleaning product, wipes, laundry detergent, detergent floral, and laundry liquid soap detergent as accused products.

Regarding domestic industry, Clorox states that its CLOROX trademark appears on all of its CLOROX branded products and that its PINE-SOL trademark appears on all of its PINE-SOL branded products.  As to the economic prong, Clorox refers to significant and substantial activities in the U.S. directed to manufacturing, packaging, testing, marketing and distributing Clorox products featuring the CLOROX mark and/or Clorox products featuring the PINE-SOL mark.  Clorox states that it owns or leases over ninety facilities in the U.S. and has approximately 4,900 employees in the U.S.  In addition, Clorox states that while it believes that it does not need to prove an injury to domestic industry to prevail based on the unfair act of dilution, Alen’s allegedly wrongful conduct does threaten to substantially injure and has substantially injured Clorox’s domestic industry for household cleaners and laundry products.

As to related litigation, Clorox refers to two related district court actions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The complaint also refers to four actions involving Clorox and Allen before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, all of which are currently suspended.  Lastly, the complaint refers to numerous other actions between Clorox and other parties before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

With respect to potential remedy, Clorox requests that the Commission issue permanent limited exclusion orders and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Alen.