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International Trade Commission confirms Unilin's ITC Ruling

  • On the 16th of September, 2020, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) confirmed the Initial Determination of the 15th of May 2020 rendered by ITC Judge Shaw. All asserted Unilin patents were again considered valid and infringed, and a General Exclusion Order was issued to prevent all importation of PVC based products falling under the Unilin patents without license or other permission.
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ITC orders investigation of US imports of unlicensed vinyl flooring products based on Unilin IP’s recently-filed complaint

  • ITC instituted an investigation of the importation of unlicensed vinyl flooring products into the United States
  • ITC instituted investigation over objection from I4F claiming that Unilin IP’s ITC complaint is against public interest
  • Unilin licensees who signed a license agreement with Unilin IP on the relevant US patents and properly label, report, and pay for their LVT, WPC, and SPC flooring products according to contractual obligations will not be affected by ITC complaint 

On the 9th of May 2019, the ITC ordered that it would institute a section 337 investigation of the importation of unlicensed vinyl flooring products into the United States. The investigation so instituted is based upon the evidence brought forward in the ITC complaint filed by Flooring Industries Ltd. Sarl (Unilin IP), Mohawk Industries Inc. and IVC US Inc. on the 25th of March 2019.

The ITC complaint was filed against 45 companies, including manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of glueless vinyl (LVT, WPC and SPC) flooring products, and alleges infringement of 59 claims of 3 granted US patents owned by Unilin IP. In this ITC complaint, Unilin IP not only seeks an exclusion order against the 45 specifically-named respondents, but a general exclusion order against all imported vinyl flooring products that infringe the US patents identified in the complaint.  

The ITC ordered to institute the investigation despite a statement submitted by Innovations4Flooring Holding NV (I4F) on the 10th of April 2019, which claimed that the proposed exclusion order was against public interest. 

Unilin licensees having a license agreement including the relevant US patents, will not be affected by the ITC complaint, if they import vinyl flooring products which are properly labelled, reported, and paid for according to the contractual obligations as defined in their license agreements.

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