ITW has lost a two-year case against three Chinese catering equipment manufacturers it accused of misappropriating trade secrets and interfering with contractual relationships.
Guangzhou Rebenet Catering Equipment Manufacturing, Guangzhou Liangsheng Trading Co and Aceplus International became the subject of an investigation by the International Trade Commission following claims made by ITW and its manufacturing subsidiary in China.
They alleged misappropriation of trade secrets related to commercial foodservice equipment, as well as tortious interference with contractual relationships.
ITW sought a limited exclusion order at the ITC to bar the importation of Rebenet’s products into the United States.
But the ITC voted this month to affirm that no violation had occurred and terminated the investigation.
The ITC held that the complainants “had failed to show substantial injury to a domestic industry”.
As a result of this ruling and the termination of the investigation, the ITC said it took no position on the trade secrets issue under review and stated that such issues were not subject to any appeal of its decision.
The ITC otherwise adopted a finding of no tortious interference with contractual relationships.
The three Chinese manufacturers were represented in the case by global intellectual property law firm Fish & Richardson.
It described the outcome for the trio as a “rare victory” in an International Trade Commission investigation brought against them.
Fish litigation practice group leader Kurt Glitzenstein, who led the case, said: “We’re grateful for this important and decisive ruling.”
Ryan McCarthy, a principal at Fish and the chief representative in the firm’s Shenzhen, China office, said: “This case is an extension of our long-time work defending the intellectual property rights of Chinese companies in the US and other jurisdictions.”
A spokesperson for the USITC said the organisation does not comment on litigation matters.
ITW has been approached for comment.