WASHINGTON — Two more companies have settled a denim-technology patent infringement case before the U.S. International Trade Commission and agreed to enter into a licensing agreement with the complainant, RevoLaze LLC and Technolines LLC, according to a new motion filed with the ITC.
BBC Apparel Group and Gotham Licensing Group follow Fashion Box SpA, an Italian denim manufacturer and maker of the Replay brand that settled the case last month. BBC and Gotham do business under the BlankNYC denim brand, which is alleged to have infringed upon patented denim technology owned by RevoLaze and Technolines.
The entire complaint targets 17 companies, asserting infringement on six patents involving laser-abraded denim technology. Among the major brands and retailers named in the complaint are Levi Strauss & Co., VF Corp., Guess Inc., Gap Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc.
The ITC said in October that it would initiate an investigation into the complaint filed by RevoLaze, a Westlake, Ohio-based laser-technology firm that claims to hold 29 worldwide patents for laser-inscribing methods that apply graphics and patterns on a variety of materials. The company claims a significant portion of its intellectual property uses the laser-inscribing technology for fabrics such as denim. Used in distressed-denim jeans, the technology is an alternative to controversial sandblasting and costly washing processes. Technolines is a majority partner in RevoLaze.
The complaint seeks the imposition of a “general exclusion order” that would direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to stop from entering the U.S. all the allegedly infringing denim imports from the 17 companies. RevoLaze also seeks limited-exclusion orders or cease-and-desist orders banning imports of the products into the country.
Other companies cited in the complaint are Diesel SpA of Italy, Eddie Bauer LLC, Hennes & Mauritz AB, Roberto Cavalli, The Buckle Inc., Koos Manufacturing Inc. and Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc.
Several of the major retailers and brands named in the complaint have accused RevoLaze and Technolines of deception and are claiming the six patents at the heart of the laser-abraded denim-technology case are invalid and unenforceable.
The motion for termination will go before an administrative law judge overseeing the ITC case for review and a ruling. If the judge grants the motion, it will then be subject to a review or possible modification by the commission. If the motion is denied, it would lead to further proceedings before the judge.