By Eric Schweibenz and Michael West
On November 8, 2018, Ingevity Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary Ingevity South Carolina, LLC (collectively “Ingevity”) both of North Charleston, South Carolina filed a complaint requesting that the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission”) 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 multi-stage fuel vapor canister systems that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. RE38,844 (“the ’844 patent” or “the asserted patent”):

  • MAHLE Filter Systems North America, Inc. of Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • MAHLE Filter Systems of Japan Corp. of Japan
  • MAHLE Sistemas de Filtracion de Mexico S.A. de C.V. of Mexico
  • MAHLE Filter Systems Canada, ULC of Canada
  • Kuraray Co., Ltd. of Japan
  • Kuraray America, Inc. of Houston, Texas
  • Nagamine Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of Japan

According to the complaint, the asserted patent generally relates to multi-stage fuel vapor canister systems that incorporate activated carbon components with a low incremental adsorption capacity (“IAC”), and the low-IAC activated carbon components. In particular, The ’844 patent relates to a particular type of evaporative emissions called “diurnal breathing loss” (or “DBL”) emissions, which occur when a vehicle is parked for long periods and fuel in the tank is subjected to temperature changes between day and night. The ’844 patent discloses techniques for decreasing DBL emissions from fuel tanks through the use of multiple layers, or stages, of absorbents in a canister system.

In the complaint, Ingevity states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patent. The complaint specifically refers to multi-stage fuel vapor canister systems that use low-IAC activated carbon components and the low-IAC activated carbon components, such as MPAC-I that are incorporated into unlicensed fuel vapor canister systems as the infringing products.

As to related litigation, Ingevity states that, concurrently with the filing of the instant ITC complaint, it has also filed various complaints against the Proposed Respondents and other defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and U.S. District Court for the District of Northern District of Illinois alleging infringement of the asserted patent.

With respect to potential remedy, Ingevity requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.