By John Presper and Elissa Sanford
On March 17, 2021, the ITC issued a Notice of Investigation in Certain Portable Battery Jump Starters and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1256).

This investigation is based on a January 19, 2021 complaint filed by The NOCO Company of Glenwillow, Ohio (“NOCO”), as amended, alleging violations of section 337 by 44 manufacturers, importers, trading companies, and retailers in China and the U.S. (collectively, “Respondents”) based on the importation and/or sale of certain portable battery jump starters and components thereof that infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 9,007,015 (“the ‘015 patent”) and 10,604,024 (“the ’024 patent”), and U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 4,811,656 (“the ’656 mark”) and 4,811,749 (“the ’749 mark”). According to the notice, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations will participate in this investigation. In addition, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice that ALJ Clark S. Cheney will preside in this investigation.

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to portable battery jump starters and safety features contained therein. The accused products are portable jump starters powered by lithium-ion batteries, and components used in operating the jump starters. The accused products are used to jump start batteries in a variety of vehicles without requiring connection to another vehicle battery with jumper cables. The accused products specifically identified in the complaint include the Gooloo GP1500, Tacklife T8 Max, and DB Power DJS50.

Regarding domestic industry, NOCO asserts that the patented technology is used in its Boost® jump starters. Specifically, NOCO points to “significant and substantial investments in plant and equipment, labor and capital, and engineering and research and development with respect to the products that practice one or more claims of the Asserted Patents,” including all six of the NOCO Boost® jump starter models. NOCO also asserts that it has invested millions of dollars per year in activities related to the design, engineering, development, testing, marketing, distribution, customer service, and warranty fulfillment relating to the domestic industry products. For example, the complaint refers to NOCO’s headquarters in Glenwillow, Ohio that houses NOCO’s sales and marketing department, serves as the main distribution center for North America, and is the site of product testing, compliance activities, and other technical support. NOCO also conducts design, research, and development activities at its facility in Peoria, Arizona.

As to related litigation, the complaint refers to 20 lawsuits involving the ‘015 patent, which is also involved in two pending IPRs before the PTAB, and 13 district court actions involving the asserted trademarks.

With respect to remedy, NOCO requests a general exclusion order and cease-and-desist orders directed to the Respondents.