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Issue 12 | March 29, 2002
SKF Requests ITC Investigation for
"Certain Bearings and Packaging Thereof"

On March 11, 2002, SKF USA, Inc. filed a "Section 337" complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging unfair trade practices in import trade involving "Certain Bearings and Packaging Thereof." The complaint specifically alleges trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, false advertising, false advertising, passing off, and unfair pecuniary benefits involving gray market imports. The complaint has been assigned Docket No. 2236 for viewing in the Commission's database at http://dockets.usitc.gov/eol/public/isearch.html.

The proposed respondents are Bearing Discount International Gmbh (Germany), Bearing Distributors, Inc. (USA), Bearings & Motive Specialties Co., Inc. (USA), Bearings Ltd. (USA), Bohls Bearing & Power Transmission Service (USA), Creswell Industrial Supply, Inc. (USA), CST Bearing Company (USA), Gulf United Industries Inc. (USA), McGuire Bearing Co. (USA), Motor Bearing Supply, Inc. (USA), RF Wolters Co., Inc. (USA), Representaciones Industriales (Mexico), Ringball Corp. (Canada), RitBearing Corp. (USA), and Seal Pack Corp. (USA).

The Commission has 30-45 days in which to decide whether to institute an investigation. Upon institution, the proposed respondents will be served with the Complaint and an Administrative Law Judge will schedule discovery, conduct a trial, and issue a written initial determination, usually all within about 10 months. One recent investigation reportedly involved 170 lawyers, 5870 pages of hearing transcript, 6500 pages of hearing exhibits, and 4800 pages of post-hearing submissions. Clearly, due to the expedited nature of these proceedings, it is important to quickly notify clients and develop a thorough litigation plan.

If the accused imports are determined to infringe, the ITC will issue orders excluding the products from entry into the United States and/or directing the violating parties to cease and desist from certain actions. ITC orders are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance, unless disapproved for policy reasons by the President of the United States within that 60-day period. Appeals of ITC determinations are taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Violators of ITC section 337 orders are liable for civil penalties of up to $100,000 a day or twice the value of the imported articles.

More information about Section 337 investigations is available at http://www.usitc.gov/us337.htm.

To discuss this topic further, please contact the author, Bill Heinze, at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley. The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.


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