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Twin-Star’s Copyright Infringement Complaint Upheld

By Home Furnishings Business in Legal on May 20, 2013

The International Trade Commission has upheld Twin-Star International's copyright infringement suit against two Chinese manufacturers.

Last week the ITC issued a limited exclusion order barring the importation of all infringing electric fireplaces and components of Shenzhen Reliap Industrial Co. and Yue Qiu Sheng, both of Shenzhen, China.

The ITC€™s initial investigation began Jan. 19, 2012, based on a complaint filed by Twin-Star against California-based Whalen Furniture Manufacturing, which was then consolidated with a prior ITC investigation based on an earlier complaint filed by Twin-Star against Reliap and Yue. The complaints charge a violation of the Tariff Act of 1930 regarding the importation and sale in the U.S. of certain electric fireplaces and their components as well as processes of  manufacturing by reason of infringement of U.S. Copyrights and misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and tortious interference with contract. These copyrights cover the unique designs of Twin-Star€™s electric fireplace inserts as well as content contained within their user manuals.

In July of last year, the Administrative Law Judge issued a consent order directing Whalen to cease importation and sale of the implicated Reliap fireplace products and any other related products that infringe on Twin-Star€™s asserted copyrights or contain Twin-Star€™s misappropriated trade secrets.

Earlier this month, the Commission issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting the importation of electric fireplaces and all related components, manuals, and products manufactured abroad and/or imported by or for Yue or Reliap, or any of their affiliates that use Twin-Star€™s misappropriated trade secrets and/or that infringe upon one or more of Twin-Star€™s asserted copyrights relating to the designs of their fireplaces and contents of their manuals.
€œWe are very happy with the Commission€™s exclusion order, which underscores the value of our company€™s innovative products and the work we have put into developing them,€ said Robert Cohen, president and CEO of Twin-Star. €œWe reaffirm our commitment to using the avenues available through the ITC and the courts to enforce Twin-Star€™s intellectual property and prevent the sale, importation or marketing of knockoffs.€ Cohen added, €œWe will continue to protect our business and more importantly our customers businesses from having to compete against lower end imitations of our product and the companies that illegally produce or sell them. The Twin-Star International family of brands has always told the story of design, quality and service and its reflected in every product we manufacture.€

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