By John Presper

On January 21, 2022, the ITC issued a Notice of Investigation in Certain Automated Put Walls and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems, Associated Vehicles, Associated Control Software, and Component Parts Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1293).

By way of background, this investigation is based on a December 22, 2021 complaint filed by OPEX Corporation of Moorestown, New Jersey (“OPEX”) alleging violations of section 337 by Respondents HC Robotics (a.k.a. Huicang Information Technology Co., Ltd.) of China, and Invata, LLC (d/b/a Invata Intralogistics) of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania (collectively, “Respondents”) in the unlawful importation/sale of certain automated put walls and automated storage and retrieval systems, associated vehicles, associated control software, and component parts thereof by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,104,601; U.S. Patent No. 8,276,740; U.S. Patent No. 8,622,194; and U.S. Patent No. 10,576,505.

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to automated material sorting, including systems and methods for automated sorting of items and materials, such as items stored in a warehouse, distribution center, or fulfillment center.  Respondents’ accused products are scalable robotic sorting and picking systems that allow quick and accurate processing of hundreds or thousands of items in storage and order-fulfillment contexts such as warehouses.  OPEX is requesting that the Commission issue 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 not participate as a party in the investigation.  Lastly, Acting Chief ALJ Clark S. Cheney issued a notice indicating that ALJ David P. Shaw will preside in the investigation.