New GEO, Cease and Desist Orders on Canon’s Dongle Gear Case

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has issued yet another general exclusion order (GEO) forbidding the import of certain toner cartridges and components into the USA.

Nine companies were named by the Washington-based USITC on August 31, with cease and desist orders being issued against them, involving the 337-TA-918 dongle gear investigation.

The key stipulations of the GEO are:

1. Toner cartridges and/or components that are covered by one or more particular claims of the asserted patents (Nos. 8,280,278; 8,630,564; 8,676,090; 8,682,215; and 8,688,008) may not enter from a foreign trade zone, or from a warehouse, and be used in the United States for the remaining terms of the patents, unless the patent owner has provided a license, or provision under the law permits such use.

2. …from the day after this Order is received by the United States Trade Representative until such time as the United States Trade Representative notifies the Commission that this Order is approved or disapproved but, in any event, not later than sixty days after the date of receipt of this Order.

3. …any persons or companies seeking to import toner cartridges and components, that are potentially subject to this Order, may be required to certify that they are familiar with the terms of this Order. They will be required to state that the products being imported are not excluded from entry. At its discretion, U.S. Customs and Border Protection may require persons who have provided the certification described in this paragraph to furnish such records or analyses as are necessary to substantiate the certification.

4. …the Orders shall not apply to toner cartridges and/or components imported by, or for the use of, or authorized by, the Government in the United States.

The nine companies named are:

  • Acecom Inc.–San Antonio, (d/b/a;
  • Do It Wiser LLC d/b/a Image Toner;
  • Grand Image Inc. d/b/a Grand Image USA db/a;
  • Green Project, Inc.;
  • Online Tech Stores LLC d/b/a;
  • Printronic Corporation;
  • Zinyaw LLC.

Accordingly, the Commission orders the above respondents to cease and desist from conducting any of the following activities in the United States: importing, selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, transferring (except for exportation), and soliciting U.S. agents or distributors for, toner cartridges and/or components covered by one or more of particular claims of the patents listed above. To do so, will be a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

In May 2014, Canon filed a complaint before the USITC against 33 manufacturers, distributors and sellers of toner cartridges for infringement of nine patents. Following this complaint, Canon requested USITC to issue a GEO in June 12, 2014. During the investigation, the ALJ issued Initial Determinations (“IDs”) as follows:

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