By John Presper
On January 15, 2021, Regal Beloit America, Inc. of Beloit, Wisconsin (“Regal”) filed an enforcement complaint in Certain Blowers and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1217). The enforcement complaint alleges that East West Manufacturing, LLC of Atlanta, Georgia and East West Industries of Vietnam (collectively, “East West”) have violated a consent order terminating the underlying investigation.

By way of background, the underlying investigation was based on a complaint filed by Regal alleging violation of Section 337 by East West in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain blowers and components thereof used by gas water heater manufacturers that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,079,834 (“the ’834 patent”). After East West filed a motion to terminate the investigation based on a proposed consent order, the ALJ issued an initial determination on October 22, 2020 terminating the investigation based on the proposed consent order. On November 12, 2020, the Commission entered the consent order which stated that “East West shall not sell for importation, import, or sell after importation the Subject Articles, directly or indirectly, and shall not aid, abet, encourage, participate in, or induce the sale for importation, the importation, or the sale after importation except under consent or license from Complainant.” The Subject Articles were defined by the Commission as “certain blowers and components thereof that infringe claims 1, 2, 7-10, and 15 of the ’834 Patent.”

In the enforcement complaint, Regal alleges that East West violated the consent order through the importation and/or sale of a “redesigned” blower that is “virtually identical” to the original blower that East West acknowledged infringed the ’834 patent and is covered by the consent order.

In view of these alleged violations of the consent order, Regal requests that the Commission institute a formal enforcement proceeding pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 210.75. With respect to potential remedy, Regal requests that the Commission issue a permanent cease-and-desist order and modify the consent order “in any manner that would assist in the prevention of the unfair practices that were originally the basis for issuing the Consent Order, including entry of a limited exclusion order, impose appropriate civil penalties … and such other relief deemed proper by the Commission.”