By Eric Schweibenz and Alex Englehart
On December 7, 2018, Extang Corp. and Laurmark Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a BAK Industries (collectively, “Complainants”)—both of Ann Arbor, Michigan—filed a complaint (part 1 and part 2) 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 pickup truck folding bed cover systems and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. D620,877 (the ’877 patent), 7,188,888 (the ’888 patent), 7,484,788 (the ’788 patent), 8,061,758 (the ’758 patent), 8,182,021 (the ’021 patent), and 8,690,224 (the ’224 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”), as well as U.S. Trademark Nos. 5,104,393 (the ’393 trademark) and 3,904,016 (the ’016 trademark) (collectively, the “asserted trademarks”):

  • Stehlen Automotive of Walnut, California
  • SyneticUSA of Pico Rivera, California
  • Topline Autoparts, Inc. of Hacienda Heights, California
  • Velocity Concepts Inc. of Hacienda Heights, California
  • JL Concepts Inc. of Walnut, California
  • DT Trading Inc. of Alhambra, California
  • Wenzhou Kouvi Hardware Products Co., Ltd. of China
  • Syppo Marketing, Inc. of City of Industry, California
  • Apex Auto Parts Mfg. Inc. of City of Industry, California
  • Ningbo Huadian Cross Country Automobile Accessories Co., Ltd. of China
  • Sunwood Industries Co., Ltd. of China

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to pickup truck bed coverings, and particularly a certain style of covering commonly known in the industry as folding tonneau covers. In particular, the ’877 patent relates to an ornamental design for a folding tonneau cover. The ’888 patent relates to a latching system for use with a folding tonneau cover system that easily adjusts to align with the truck bed. The ’788 patent relates to a panel and hinge system with gutters to collect and route fluid away from the interior of the truck bed. The ’758 patent relates to an improved folding pick-up truck cargo box cover that is easy to install and highly resistant to water penetration so that the contents of the box stay dry when covered. The ’021 patent relates to a novel folding cover assembly for a pick-up truck cargo box that utilizes side rails that are attached to the sides of the cargo box. The ’224 patent relates to a cover assembly for a pick-up truck cargo box having side rails. Lastly, the asserted trademarks are directed to BAK and BAKFLIP.

In the complaint, Complainants state that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents and trademarks. The complaint specifically refers to R&L Racing Solid Tri-Fold, HS Power Solid Tri-Fold, Nova Solid Tri-Fold, Stehlen Solid Tri-Fold, SyneticUSA Solid Tri-Fold, SyneticUSA Hard Fold With Rails, Topline Autoparts Solid Tri-Fold, and Velocity Concepts Solid Tri-Fold as exemplary infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Complainants state that their Extang Solid Fold 2.0, Extang Trifecta 2.0, and BAK BAKFlip Tonneau Cover products practice the asserted patents. Complainants further state that all of their products are designed, engineered, marketed, and manufactured in Michigan.

With respect to potential remedy, Complainants request that the Commission issue preliminary relief in the form of a temporary exclusion order and a temporary cease and desist order, as well as a general exclusion order, a permanent limited exclusion order, and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents and related entities.