By Eric Schweibenz
On April 1, 2009, Chief ALJ Paul J. Luckern issued a Remand Determination in the matter of Certain R-134a Coolant (Otherwise Known as 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluorothane) (337-TA-623) affirming that Respondents Sinochem Modern Environmental Protection Chemicals (Xi’an) Co. Ltd. and Sinochem Ningbo Ltd. (“Sinochem”) imported coolant that infringed a process patent held by Complainants INEOS Fluor Holdings Ltd., INEOS Fluor Ltd. and INEOS Fluor Americas LLC (“INEOS”).

The investigation was instituted in December 2007.  On December 1, 2008, ALJ Luckern issued a final initial determination (“ID”) that Sinochem infringed the patent-in-suit and failed to establish that the patent-in-suit was invalid.  Following submissions by the parties, the Commission reviewed the ID with respect to invalidity and issued an order on January 30, 2009 remanding the investigation to the ALJ for further proceedings related to anticipation and obviousness because the disposition of these issues was unclear from the ALJ’s ID.

Pursuant to the Commission’s order remanding the investigation, and following additional briefing, ALJ Luckern issued an order concluding that (1) Respondents did not sufficiently raise the anticipation and obviousness arguments found in the remand initial brief in their pre-hearing statement, (2) said arguments have no merit even if sufficiently raised, (3) as found in the ID, Respondents have not established that the patent-in-suit is invalid on any ground, (4) as found in the ID, Respondents violated Section 337, and (5) as recommended in the ID, the record supports issuance of a limited exclusion order.