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U.S. probes imports of ink application devices for alleged patent infringement

03-01-2012 11:35 BJT

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on Wednesday launched a probe into ink application devices from China and Canada over patent infringement complaints by German and U.S. corporations.

The products in question are disposable needle cartridges used to reduce health risks in tattooing and permanent makeup applications, said the USITC.

German Mt.Derm GmbH and Nouveau Cosmetique USA Inc. filed a complaint last month, claiming the importation and sale of certain ink application devices violated Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930.

They requested the USITC to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist orders against those products.

The USITC said it had identified three respondent companies, including two from China and one from Canada.

An administrative law judge will hold an evidentiary hearing to make an initial determination as to whether Section 337 has been violated.

Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the trade panel will set a target date for completing the probe, and if the complaint is approved, the USITC will issue remedial orders that are immediately effective and become final after 60 days if the U.S. Trade Representative does not disapprove.

Section 337 focuses on allegations of patent or registered trademark infringement, and also involve misappropriation of trade secrets, trade dress infringement, passing off, false advertising, and violation of the antitrust laws.

The number of investigations launched under Section 337 in 2011 was 69, representing a 37 percent increase from the previous year and a record high.

The 2008 financial meltdown and subsequent global economic recession have hit the U.S. economy hard. A near two-digit unemployment rate and an almost stalling economy have sparked a new wave of protectionism.

Observers see trade protectionism as a short-sighted approach, and some U.S. officials believe a deeper trade integration with other regions could help the United States create more jobs and boost its competitiveness.

Trade tensions with China are a particularly sensitive issue as the two largest economies in the world have become increasingly inter-woven and interdependent both economically and politically.

For its part, the Chinese government has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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