Dallas — Seizure and Forfeiture Orders were issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against multiple companies attempting to import containers of laminate flooring that infringe upon Unilin’s glueless locking patents. The offending companies were first warned of Unilin’s General Exclusion Order prohibiting the import of infringing laminate flooring. Nevertheless, because they chose to ignore those warnings, the ITC issued Seizure and Forfeiture Orders empowering the US Customs Office to seize all infringing products imported into the United States.
In March 2014, Unilin filed several patent infringement suits in federal district court in California against multiple companies and individuals that are active in the importation and distribution of unlicensed glueless laminate plank flooring. The suits were filed to collect money owed to Unilin for past infringement.
Some years ago, Unilin also put in place its “L2C” holographic label program to support its licensees. The L2C program requires Chinese licensees of Unilin and Välinge to attach a unique holographic label to each box of licensed product. The L2C label allows Unilin and Customs to easily identify unlicensed products from those licensed for importation. Unilin said the program would be extended to additional countries shortly as more licensees and buyers value the L2C labels.
Companies have tried to avoid the ITC General Exclusion Order by using counterfeit labels, according to Unilin. Products using counterfeit L2C labels, however, will also be seized and destroyed by Customs.
Christine Walmsley-Scott, legal counsel of Unilin’s IP division, said: “Products with counterfeit labels not only infringe on Unilin’s glueless locking patents, but also infringe on Unilin’s trademarks and copyrights. We are closely working with U.S. Customs Officials and with our attorneys to have such counterfeit products seized. We are therefore advising all buyers and retailers of Chinese glueless locking flooring products to get guarantees from their suppliers that the holographic L2C labels applied to their products are genuine as provided to them by Unilin representatives.”
The companies caught attempting to import patent infringing products, and against whom Seizure and Forfeiture Orders have been issued, include the following:
- All American Hardwood Inc, Ontario, Calif.
- Hawk Wood Flooring Inc., Walnut, Calif.
- S&S Hardwood Floor Supply, Los Angeles
- Woody & Lamy Floor Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
- Home Floor Inc., Temple City, Calif.
- Harmanto DBA Maximus Flooring, San Marino, Calif.
- Lucky Step Inc, City of Industry, Calif.
- Linco Enterprises Inc., Ontario, Calif.
- Overseas Chinese Cultural Association, Temple City, Calif.
- Topstar Flooring LLC, Rosemead, Calif.
- Smartwood Flooring Inc., City of Industry, Calif.
- Christina & Son Inc. DBA KC Industries Co, San Marino, Calif.