By John Presper

On February 1, 2022, BISSELL Inc. and BISSELL Homecare, Inc., both of Grand Rapids, Michigan (collectively, “BISSELL”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following proposed respondents (collectively, “Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and sell within the U.S. after importation certain wet dry surface cleaning devices that infringe U.S. Patent No. 10,820,769 (“the ‘769 patent); U.S. Patent No. 11,096,541 (“the ’541 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 11,122,949 (“the ’949 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 11,071,428 (“the ’428 patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 11,076,735 (“the ’735 patent”):

  • Tineco Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. of China
  • TEK (Hong Kong) Science & Technology Ltd. of Hong Kong
  • Tineco Intelligent, Inc. of Seattle, Washington

According to the complaint, the ’769 patent generally relates to a floor care product to effectively clean both wet and dry messes with an optimized fluid delivery system, a brush roll for cleaning the floor surface, and a structure for removing excess liquid from the brush roll; the ’541 patent generally relates to a floor care product that cleans both wet and dry messes while optimizing clean fluid use and minimizing residual fluid on the floor; the ’949 patent generally relates to an efficient system for delivering cleaning fluid to wet dry cleaning vacuum products; the ’428 patent generally relates to an optimized system for powering various components during self-cleaning in combination with the product’s battery charging operation; and the ’735 patent generally relates to an unattended self-cleaning mode.  The accused products are Tineco surface cleaning devices that allegedly incorporate the technology of the asserted patents, such as the Tineco iFloor, Tineco iFloor 2, Tineco iFloor Breeze, Tineco iFloor 3, Tineco Floor One S3, Tineco Floor One S5 Combo, Tineco Floor One S5, and Tineco Floor One S5 Pro.

The complaint also indicates that BISSELL filed a concurrent district court litigation against Respondents in the District of Delaware.

Regarding domestic industry, BISSELL alleges that a domestic industry exists under 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(2) and (3) due to its significant investments in plant and equipment, significant employment of labor and capital, and substantial investments in the exploitation of the inventions claimed in the asserted patents, including through engineering, research, and development.  In particular, BISSELL asserts that several models of its wet dry surface cleaning devices practice the asserted patents, including the CrossWave X7, CrossWave Max, CrossWave All-in-One Multi-Surface, CrossWave Pet Pro, CrossWave Performance, and CrossWave Multi-Surface products.  BISSELL also points to “more than 900 workers in at least seven facilities in Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois, and Texas” who “perform a number of functions including research, development, engineering, customer support, technical support, warehousing, logistics, distribution, sales and marketing, IT, and administrative functions.”

With respect to potential remedy, BISSELL requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and permanent cease-and-desist order directed to each proposed Respondent.