The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) recently issued a Final Determination concluding that certain dental implants imported by Instradent USA, Inc. and by JJGC Industria e Comercio de Materiais Dentarios S/A of Brazil (“Respondents”) infringe U.S. Patent Numbers 8,714,977 and 8,764,443 and should be blocked from entry into the United States.
The ’977 and ’443 Patents are owned by Nobel Biocare Services AG of Switzerland and relate to dental implants having threaded bodies. The asserted patents are exclusively licensed to Nobel Biocare USA, LLC in the United States.
Nobel Biocare initially filed a Complaint with the ITC on September 22, 2014 alleging that the “Drive CM” model dental implants sold by Instradent violate Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and shouldn’t be allowed into the United States because those implants infringe numerous claims of Nobel Biocare’s patents. The ITC instituted a formal investigation into the matter on October 27, 2014, and one year later on October 27, 2015 a federal judge at the ITC issued an Initial Determination ruling the dental implants do in fact infringe multiple claims of Nobel Biocare’s patents. On April 26, 2016, a group of six ITC Commissioners confirmed the judge’s Initial Determination and entered a Final Determination along with a Limited Exclusion Order prohibiting the infringing dental implants from future entry into the United States.
The ITC is a federal agency tasked with enforcing legislation related to international trade, including the Tariff Act of 1930, now codified at 19 U.S.C. § 1337. The ITC has authority to prohibit importation, or sale within the United States after importation, of articles that infringe U.S. intellectual property rights, including patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.