By John Presper

On December 29, 2021, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued the public version of his December 10, 2021 initial determination (“ID”) finding no violation of section 337 in Certain Wrapping Material and Methods for Use in Agricultural Applications (Inv. No. 337-TA-1210).

By way of background, this investigation was instituted based on a complaint by Tama Group and Tama USA, Inc. (collectively, “Tama”) alleging violations of section 337 by Zhejiang Yajia Cotton Picker Parts Co., Ltd. (“Yajia Cotton”); Southern Marketing Affiliates, Inc. (“SMA”); Hai’an Xin Fu Yuan of Agricultural, Science and Technology Co., Ltd. (“XFY”); and Gosun Business Development Co. Ltd. (“Gosun”) based on the importation/sale of certain wrapping material and methods for use in agricultural applications by reason of infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,787,209 (“the ’209 patent”).  The investigation was terminated with respect to Gosun based on a settlement agreement, and Zhejiang Yajia Packaging Materials Co., Ltd. (“Yajia Packaging”) was subsequently named as a respondent in an amended complaint.  Respondent XFY was found in default.  The ’209 patent generally relates to agricultural wrapping material and methods of mechanized wrapping of cotton in a round module form.  The accused products are wrapping material and/or methods of wrapping bales of cotton, including Yajia Model Nos. YJ168168 (old), YJ168168 (new), YJ168169, and YJ168170.  An evidentiary hearing was held on August 9-10, 2021.

According to the ID, Chief ALJ Bullock determined that no violation of section 337 occurred based on the following conclusions of law:

  1. The importation or sale requirement of section 337 has been satisfied.

  1. The 169 wrap does not infringe any of the asserted claims of the ’209 patent.

  1. The accused products infringe claim 1 of the ’209 patent.

  1. The 168 wrap (old) infringes claims 2, 4-7, and 10-14 of the ’209 patent.

  1. The 168 wrap (new) and 170 wrap infringe claims 2 and 4-14 of the ’209 patent.

  1. Respondents do not infringe claims 32, 33, 35-38, or 41-44 of the ’209 patent.

  1. The technical prong of the domestic industry requirement for the ’209 patent has been satisfied.

  1. The ’209 patent is valid.

  1. The economic prong of the domestic industry requirement has not been satisfied for the ’209 patent.