By Eric Schweibenz and Alex Englehart
On May 5, 2016, Aspen Aerogels, Inc. of Northborough, Massachusetts (“Aspen”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Nano Tech Co., Ltd. and Guangdong Alison Hi-Tech Co., Ltd. (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”)—both of China—unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain composite aerogel insulation materials that infringe—or are made, produced, or processed by a process that infringes—one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,078,359 (the ‘359 patent), 7,399,439 (the ‘439 patent), 6,989,123 (the ‘123 patent), 7,780,890 (the ‘890 patent), and 9,181,486 (the ‘486 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to composite aerogel insulation materials and methods for manufacturing them.  In particular, the ‘359 patent relates to making aerogels sufficiently flexible and durable for real-world use while retaining excellent insulation properties.  The ‘439, ‘123, and ‘890 patents relate to creating aerogels in a highly efficient process that uses a conveyor belt, as opposed to creating aerogels sequentially in batches.  Lastly, the ‘486 patent relates to aerogels with reduced smoke emission, reduced combustion, and increased compatibility with combustible environments.

In the complaint, Aspen states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to various aerogel insulation materials associated with the Proposed Respondents as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Aspen states that its aerogel products practice at least one claim of each asserted patent.  Aspen further states that all of its manufacturing and research and development occurs in the U.S. at facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

As to related litigation, Aspen states that on April 11, 2016, it filed complaints against the Proposed Respondents and a related entity in Germany, alleging infringement of foreign counterparts to the ‘439, ‘123, and ‘890 patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Aspen requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents.  Aspen states that a general exclusion order is appropriate because it is necessary to prevent circumvention of an exclusion order limited to products of the named Proposed Respondents.