WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission said Friday it is initiating an investigation into a patent infringement complaint filed by The Kind Group and EOS Products accusing several major retailers, including CVS Health Corp., Dollar Tree Stores Inc. and Walgreen Co. of infringing on certain lip-balm products and containers.
The Kind Group and its wholly-owned subsidiary, EOS, alleged that the companies violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain lip-balm products they said infringe on one of their patents.
Others named in the complaint include Five Below Inc.; OraLabs Inc; CVS Pharmacy Inc., a subsidiary of CVS; Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the parent company of Walgreens, and Wuxi Sunmart Science and Technology Co.
The complainants are requesting that the ITC impose a limited exclusion order on the alleged infringing products and a cease-and-desist order from importing the products into the U.S. EOS has also filed a separate patent infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against the companies named in the ITC complaint.
EOS, or Evolution of Smooth, lip-balm products have distinctive, spherical-shaped containers, and come in a variety of colors and flavors, such as strawberry, sorbet, sweet mint and honeysuckle, and have been featured in print and digital media and on television, according to the complaint.
The patent at issue relates to a lip-balm applicator product comprised of an upper and lower portion often connected with interconnecting threads. Lip balm is mounted in the lower portion of the applicator on a support platform and the receptacle is “substantially spherical, substantially cylindrical with rounded surfaces, egg-shaped, ovate or the like.”
The complaint alleges that CVS, for example, imports and sells a private-label, “Beauty 360” Revo lip-balm product that infringes on its patent, while Walgreens is accused of importing and selling a private-label “Well at Walgreens” Revo lip-balm product that allegedly infringes on the patent. Five Below is accused of importing and sells a three-pack of mini Revo lip-balm products that allegedly infringe on the patent.
Chinese-based Wuxi Sunmart is believed to be the manufacturer of the accused products, according to the complaint. The company is accused of manufacturing and importing OraLab’s Revo-branded lip-balm products, containers for lip balm and other components that are sold by the named retailers.
The ITC said an administrative law judge will hold an evidentiary hearing and make an initial determination whether there has been a violation of section 337, which will be subject to review by the commission. Within 45 days, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation.