The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on Monday initiated a patent investigation of certain liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that can be used as writing tablets and components from five Chinese companies.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Ohio-based Kent Displays, which alleged that those Chinese companies had infringed upon its patents and violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, the bipartisan trade panel said in a statement.
The company requested the USITC to issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders against those products.
The five Chinese companies being investigated are all based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province: Shenzhen Howshow Technology, Shenzhen Howshare Technology, Howshare of Shenzhen, Shenzhen SUNstone Technology and iQbe of Shenzhen.
The investigation does not mean the panel has made any decision on the merits of the case. Within 45 days, the panel will set a target date for completing the investigation. Should the complaint be approved, the panel will issue an import ban on infringing products and bar the sale of products within the United States.
Section 337 investigations focus on allegations of patent or registered trademark infringement, and also involve misappropriation of aspects such as trade secrets, false advertising, and violation of the antitrust laws.
As it is quicker, cheaper and more practical to win the patent cases with the USITC than in U.S. courts, American companies increasingly tap the USITC's authority on patent cases to tamp down their competitors.