By Eric Schweibenz and Alex Englehart
On December 15, 2017, Newpark Mats & Integrated Services LLC of The Woodlands, Texas (“Newpark”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Checkers Industrial Products, LLC of Broomfield, Colorado, Checkers Safety Group UK LTD of the United Kingdom, and Zigma Ground Solutions LTD of the United Kingdom (collectively, “Checkers”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain load supporting systems, including composite mat systems, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,511,257 (the ’257 patent) and 6,695,527 (the ’527 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to heavy-duty industrial mats with a unique interlocking connection system. These mats generally consist of two rectangular panels made out of composite materials, which are joined to form a single mat. The panels have an internal honeycomb structure, and the identical mats are offset when joined such that two adjacent sides have a lip extending from the top panel and the other two adjacent sides have a lip extending from the bottom panel.

In the complaint, Newpark states that Checkers imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents. The complaint specifically refers to TuffTrak XT composite mats as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Newpark states that its own Dura-Base composite mats practice at least one claim of each of the asserted patents. Newpark further states that it manufactures its Dura-Base composite mats in the U.S. Newpark additionally states that it conducts relevant research, design, development, engineering, and testing of its domestic industry products in the U.S. Newpark specifically refers to a facility in Louisiana where it conducts relevant domestic industry activities.

As to related litigation, Newpark states that on June 1, 2017, it filed a complaint against Checkers Industrial Products, LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleging infringement of the asserted patents. Newpark states that this district court litigation is ongoing.

With respect to potential remedy, Newpark requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Checkers and related entities.