Electrical Business

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Judge finds violations of P&S Legrand GFCI patent rights


March 21, 2009
By Anthony Capkun

March 21, 2009

Pass & Seymour/Legrand (P&S) announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final decision, finding that a number of China-based manufacturers of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and their American distributors have violated P&S’s patent rights.

The
ITC affirmed an earlier decision by Administrative Law Judge Carl C.
Charneski finding P&S’s patents valid and enforceable. The ITC also
found that GFCIs manufactured by General Protecht Group, Shanghai ELE
Manufacturing, Shanghai Meihao Electric and Wenzhou Trimone Science and
Technology Electric infringed P&S’s patents.




In
addition, the ITC issued exclusion orders precluding importation of
infringing GFCIs made by General Protecht Group, Shanghai ELE
Manufacturing, Shanghai Meihao Electric and Wenzhou Trimone Science and
Technology Electric, and cease and desist orders precluding U.S.
distributors Cheetah USA Corp. (Sandy, Utah), Colacino Electric Supply
Inc. (Newark, N.Y.), The Designer’s Edge Inc. (Bellevue, Wash.), Nicor
Inc. (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Orbit Industries Inc. (Los Angeles,
Calif.) from selling infringing GFCIs in the United States.




“Today’s
decision will enable P&S to fend off unfair competition, maintain
market share and preserve high-end R&D jobs and the innovation
those workers create, in a product category the company created almost
40 years ago,” said Pat Davin, vice-president and general manager of
Pass & Seymour/Legrand, adding, “These orders will ensure that our
patents and quality products maintain their rightful presence in the
marketplace.”




P&S
intends to work with U.S. Customs to enforce the exclusion orders to
preclude the importation of infringing GFCIs. The company also intends
to vigorously enforce the cease and desist orders against the
distributors named in the investigation and contact other distributors
to cease sales of infringing GFCIs. P&S has a related suit pending
in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, seeking
damages.