By John Presper
On June 4, 2021, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice regarding his initial determination (“ID”) finding no violation of section 337 in Certain Foodservice Equipment and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1166).

By way of background, this investigation was based on a May 30, 2019 complaint filed by Illinois Tool Works, Inc. of Glenview, Illinois; Vesta Global Limited of Hong Kong; Vesta (Guangzhou) Catering Equipment Co., Ltd. of China; and Admiral Craft Equipment Corp. of Westbury, New York (collectively, “Complainants”) alleging violations of section 337 by five Chinese respondents that import and/or sell in the U.S. certain commercial kitchen equipment and components thereof for use in restaurants, bars, cafes, cafeterias, etc. whose manufacture involves the misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition through tortious interference with contractual relationships. According to the ID, Chief ALJ Bullock determined there was no violation of section 337 based on the following conclusions of law:

  • Respondents have misappropriated certain of Complainants’ trade secrets in the manufacture of certain accused products.

  • Complainants have not shown that Respondents tortiously interfered with contracts.

  • Complainants have not shown that the importation and sale of accused products has the threat or effect of destroying or substantially injuring a domestic industry.

A public version of the ID containing more detailed information will issue after all parties have submitted their proposed redactions to the Chief ALJ.

UPDATE:  On July 2, 2021, Chief ALJ Bullock issued the public version (Part I, Part II, Part III) of the ID.