The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) has issued an order banning the importation of refrigerator water filters that infringed patents owned by Berkshire Hathaway’s KX Technologies LLC and licensed to Electrolux Home Products, Inc.
KX Technologies is a global leader in the design and production of drinking water filtration products including under-sink and countertop filtration units, point-of-use and point-of-entry systems, and refrigerator water and ice filtration systems.
“This is a significant win for KX Technologies and an even bigger win for American consumers,” said KX President Jerome Barrillon.
Barrillon cited a recent study by the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers, which concluded that “counterfeit refrigerator water filters pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety.” The study revealed these counterfeit filters have “an overwhelming failure to remove harmful contaminants” that could harm the well-being of American consumers.
“KX is committed to upholding NSF-certified standards in our technologies and products to deliver safe, high quality water,” Barrillon said. “This important ruling will help ensure consumers can purchase water filters with confidence in the product’s performance.”
To help stop the flow of counterfeit filters into the U.S., on June 8, 2018, KX joined Electrolux in filing a complaint requesting that the ITC investigate the importation of infringing water filters into the country.
Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 provides for the investigation of any unfair act in the importation of articles into the U.S., including the enforcement of intellectual property rights. If the ITC finds a violation of Section 337, it may issue (1) an exclusion order banning importation of the infringing goods and/or (2) a cease-and-desist order preventing the sale and distribution of the infringing goods, subject to severe civil penalties.
Because the infringing water filters were so numerous and the sources of the products were difficult or impossible to identify, the ITC issued a sweeping “General Exclusion Order” banning infringing water filters from any source, even if the party seeking to import the products was not specifically named in the investigation. The ITC also issued cease-and-desist orders preventing certain named parties from any commercial activity involving the infringing filters.
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.