By John Presper

On August 27, 2021, the ITC issued a Notice of Investigation in Certain Flocked Swabs, Products Containing Flocked Swabs, and Methods of Using Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-1279).

By way of background, this investigation is based on a July 9, 2021 complaint (as amended) filed by Copan Italia S.p.A. of Brescia, Italy and Copan Industries, Inc. of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (collectively, “Copan”) alleging a violation of section 337 by 21 respondents in the unlawful importation and/or sale in the U.S. of certain flocked swabs, products containing flocked swabs, and methods of using same by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,011,358 (“the ’358 Patent”); U.S. Patent No. 9,173,779 (“the ’779 Patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 10,327,741 (“the ’741 Patent”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents are directed to swabs used for collecting biological specimens and methods for using such swabs.  The accused products are flocked swabs inserted into human orifices to collect biological samples for testing for infectious disease such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2, and kits containing flocked swabs.  Copan is requesting that the Commission issue a general exclusion order or, alternatively, limited exclusion orders and permanent cease-and-desist orders directed to respondents.  According to the Notice of Investigation, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations will participate as a party in the investigation.  Lastly, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued a notice indicating that he will preside in the investigation.