By  on August 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission said Tuesday it has received a complaint from two companies accusing 17 well-known denim brands and retailers of patent infringement on certain laser abraded denim garments and seeking a ban on those imported products.

The brands and retailers named in the complaint include Levi Strauss & Co., VF Corp., Guess Inc., Gap Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters.

RevoLaze LLC and TechnoLines LLC filed the complaint against the brands at the ITC, alleging they have violated a section under U.S. trade law. The companies are seeking an investigation and restriction on imports of the allegedly infringing laser abraded denim garments.

The companies are asking the ITC to institute a Section 337 patent infringement investigation and requesting the ITC to impose what is known as a “general exclusion order,” which directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop all of the allegedly infringing imports from entering the U.S. It also seeks a limited exclusion order or cease and desist orders from importing the products into the U.S.

According to the law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, which mentioned the complaint in its trade report on Tuesday evening, RevoLaze claims that it holds 29 worldwide patents for laser inscribing methods that apply graphics and patterns on a variety of materials and that a significant portion of its intellectual property uses the laser scribing technology for fabrics such as denim. The firm also said RevoLaze and TechnoLines have filed separate patent infringement lawsuits in U.S. district court against each of the named brands and retailers in the complaint.

The technology is a substitute for the sandblasting process and is used in distressed denim jeans. RevoLaze claims the patented technology is being used illegally by the named respondents and is seeking an investigation and import ban from the ITC.

The ITC is requesting written responses from those named in the complaint within eight calendar days of the Federal Register notice.

Other named respondents include Diesel SpA of Italy, Eddie Bauer LLC, H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, Roberto Cavalli, Koos Manufacturing, Lucky Brand Dungarees, Fashion Box Group SpA, BBC Apparel Group LLC, Gotham Licensing Corp. LLC, The Buckle Inc. and Buffalo International ULC.

The brands and retailers mentioned in the complaint could not be reached for comment at press time.

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