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Sutherland Successfully Represents General Protecht Group, Inc. in ITC Appeal

September 1, 2010

ATLANTA (September 1, 2010) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announces that it successfully represented General Protecht Group, Inc. (GPG), a Chinese electronics manufacturer, in an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit determined the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) erred in its decision to bar GPG from importing certain electrical components, which the ITC found infringed two patents held by Pass & Seymour, Inc.

“Our client is happy with the Federal Circuit’s decision," said Sutherland’s Intellectual Property Partner William F. Long, who served as lead counsel for GPG. “Increasing numbers of overseas manufacturers importing goods into the United States are facing such ITC investigations. We celebrate this decision with GPG."

The case originated in 2006 when U.S.-based Pass & Seymour, Inc. asked the ITC to investigate alleged patent infringement by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) manufactured by several Chinese companies, including GPG. In 2008, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an initial determination that GFCIs manufactured by four Chinese companies, including GPG, infringed one or more Pass & Seymour patents.

Sutherland did not enter the case until after the ALJ issued his unfavorable ruling. Sutherland petitioned the ITC for review of the ALJ's decision. In March 2009, the ITC issued its final determination, which modified the ALJ’s claim constructions in some respects and rejected some of the ALJ’s infringement findings. But based on its determination that each respondent’s products infringed one or more of Pass & Seymour’s patents, the ITC declared that the importation into the United States, sale for importation, or sale within the United States of certain GFCIs violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. After briefing and oral argument, the Federal Circuit held last Friday that the ITC erred in its decision because GPG did not infringe the patents.

“We are proud to represent GPG," said Intellectual Property Partner Ann G. Fort. “The decision is favorable, and when it becomes final it will allow GPG to continue its business within the U.S."

The Sutherland team of attorneys representing General Protecht Group, Inc. included William F. Long; Ann G. Fort; Lei Fang, Ph.D., M.D.; and Joshua D. Curry.

About General Protecht Group, Inc.
General Protecht Group Inc. is a large export enterprise. It is located in the  Zhejiang Yueqing Economic Development Zone—“the Electrical Capital of China." The company specializes in the production of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) series products, LCDI series products, RCCB series products, dimmers, timers, switches and receptacles.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.

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Eversheds Sutherland is an international law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

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