By Eric Schweibenz
On November 3, 2011, ALJ Robert K. Rogers, Jr. issued the public version of Order No. 33 (dated October 5, 2011) in Certain Starter Motors and Alternators (Inv. No. 337-TA-755).  The order denied Respondent Wetherill Associates, Inc. d/b/a WAI Global’s (“WAI”) motion for summary determination that Complainants Remy International, Inc. and Remy Products, LLC (collectively, “Remy”) could not satisfy the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement.

According to the Order, WAI’s motion was based on its assertion that the “articles protected by the intellectual property right concerned” were limited to one starter model and one alternator model.  WAI argued that Remy should be limited to only these two models because they were the only models for which Remy provided claim charts. 

Remy and the Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) opposed the motion.  Remy argued that it provided claim charts for its exemplary products and that there was no requirement that it chart all of its products.  OUII argued that WAI’s motion ignored other information related to the economic prong which was produced by Remy.  OUII added that many of the issues about which WAI was raising arose from the narrow wording of its own discovery requests.  Nevertheless, OUII asserted that Remy’s responses were sufficient to create genuine issues of material fact as to whether Remy could meet the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement.

ALJ Rogers agreed with Remy and OUII, denying summary determination.  Specifically, the ALJ determined that genuine issues of material fact existed as to (1) whether activities at Remy’s U.S. facilities represent a significant investment in plant and equipment, (2) whether Remy has made a significant investment of labor and capital in the U.S., and (3) whether Remy has made a substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents, including engineering, research and development, and licensing.  ALJ Rogers added that “WAI’s real complaint appears to be that it does not understand how the documents [] and information produced by Remy support its assertions that it satisfies the domestic industry requirement…” and that “WAI’s alleged inability to understand the documents does not establish a lack of genuine issues of material fact.”  In rejecting WAI’s assertion that Remy’s investments were neither significant nor substantial, the ALJ also noted that WAI predicated its argument on interrogatories which were specifically restricted to seeking information about only two of Remy’s models.  Finally, the ALJ reiterated that “Commission precedent allows parties to rely on the characteristics of a limited number of products as representative of a larger group of products.”