By Eric Schweibenz
On October 26, 2011, Robert Bosch LLC of Farmington Hills, Michigan (“Bosch”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain “flat” or “beam-type” wiper blade devices that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,523,218 (the ‘218 patent), 6,553,607 (the ‘607 patent), 6,611,988 (the ‘988 patent), 6,675,434 (the ‘434 patent), 6,836,926 (the ‘926 patent), 6,944,905 (the ‘905 patent), 6,973,698 (the ‘698 patent), 7,293,321 (the ‘321 patent), and 7,523,520 (the ‘520 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to various aspects of wiper blades.  In particular, the ‘905 patent relates to a wind deflection strip (spoiler) of a particular construction to counteract the airflow-induced tendency of the wiper blade to lift up from the window at high driving speeds.  The ‘434 patent relates to a termination part (end cap) which covers each end of the beam-type wiper blade to prevent injuries to persons handling the beam blade from the sharp ends of the support element.  The ‘698 patent relates to a support element structure in beam-type wiper blades that creates a non-uniform pressure distribution along the length of the wiper blade.  The ‘926 patent relates to a support element for a beam-type wiper blade.  The ‘218 patent relates to an aerodynamic beam-type wiper blade having a spoiler and at least one retainer.  The ‘321 patent and ‘520 patents relate to a beam blade having sections of a spoiler on each side of a coupling part.  The ‘607 patent relates to a low profile, secure connection between a wiper blade and an associated wiper arm.  Lastly, the ‘988 patent relates to a wiper blade having a low profile and secure connection to an associated wiper arm.

In the complaint, Bosch states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically identifies the RainEater Elements and RainEater Premium beam-type wiper blades, Invisible Glass Best beam wiper blades, Goodyear Assurance wiper blades, CAP beam-type wiper blades, Michelin Stealth and DuPont Beam Blade products, Valvoline Aquablade, ClearPlus Beam Blade, Pronto Tech Select Beam, and Silblade Flex wiper blades as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Bosch states that at least one claim of each of the asserted patents is practiced by Bosch original equipment beam wiper blades, Bosch aftermarket beam wiper blades, and/or Bosch beam blade wiper systems.  As to the economic prong, Bosch states that while its wiper blades and wiper systems are manufactured outside the U.S., Bosch does have several facilities in the U.S. at which it conducts significant domestic industry activities relating to wiper blades and wiper systems that practice the asserted patents.  According to the complaint, Bosch engages in significant and substantial design, development, engineering, testing, administration of warranty, customer service, distribution, marketing, and sales activities in the U.S. with respect to products that practice the asserted patents.  Bosch specifically refers to facilities in Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, California, and South Carolina.  According to the complaint, Bosch employs more than 6,500 people throughout the U.S., about 90 percent of whom work in the Automotive Technology group, the Bosch business sector responsible for wiper blades and wiper systems.

As to related litigation, Bosch states that the asserted patents have been involved in two district court cases in the District of Delaware, eight district court cases in the District of Nevada, one district court case in the Eastern District of Michigan, and two district court cases in the Northern District of Illinois.  Additionally, the European counterpart to the ‘905 patent has been involved in actions in France and Germany.

With respect to potential remedy, Bosch requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents, their affiliates, others acting on behalf of the Proposed Respondents, and others who are in active concert or participation with the Proposed Respondents.

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