By Eric Schweibenz
On March 10, 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a notice of issuance of a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders in Certain Automotive Vehicles and Designs Therefore (Inv. No. 337-TA-722).

By way of background, the Complainant in this investigation is Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Michigan (“Chrysler”) and the Respondents are Xingyue Group Co., Ltd. of China, Shanghai Xingyue Power Machinery Co., Ltd. of China, Zhejiang Xingyue Vehicle Co. Ltd. of China, Shanghai Tandem Industrial Co., Ltd. of China, Shanghai Xingyue USA, Inc. of City of Industry, California, Boat N RV Supercenter of Rockwood, Tennessee, and Vehicles Online, Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chrysler filed a Section 337 complaint regarding certain automotive vehicles on May 14, 2010 (see our May 18, 2010 post), and the ITC instituted an investigation on June 11, 2010 (see our June 15, 2010 post).  The subject matter of this investigation centers around the Jeep Hurricane, which is a 4x4 concept vehicle that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in 2005, by Jeep, a division of Chrysler Group LLC.  Chrysler obtained U.S. Design Patent No. D513,395 (the ‘395 patent) on January 3, 2006, which is directed to an automobile body corresponding to the Jeep Hurricane.

On October 12, 2010, Chrysler and respondents including Xingyue Group Co., Ltd. filed an amended joint motion to terminate the pending investigation on the basis of a consent order, and the ALJ issued an order on October 27, 2010, granting the joint motion for termination.  The joint motion to terminate was based on a settlement agreement these respondents will not import, sell, etc. the accused XYJK800 vehicle manufactured by Xingyue, which was alleged to infringe the ‘395 patent.

On October 29, 2010, Chrysler filed declarations requesting immediate relief against the then defaulting respondents (Vehicles Online, Inc. and Shanghai Tandem).  Having determined that the statutory requirements were met, the ITC issued a notice ordering relief on March 10, 2011.

The relief included (1) cease and desist orders against Vehicles Online, Inc. and Shanghai Tandem concerning automotive vehicles and designs therefor that infringe the ‘395 patent, and (2) a limited exclusion order prohibiting unlicensed entry of automotive vehicles and designs therefor that infringe the ‘395 patent, which are manufactured abroad or imported by or on behalf of Shanghai Tandem (namely, the accused Tandem TDUV800-2).  Since no other issues remained pending, the ITC terminated the investigation.