Rockwell complaint prompts ITC investigation

German, Taiwanese companies targeted

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is launching an investigation into three industrial control related companies at the request of Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation.

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation’s Milwaukee headquarters.

The investigation into German firm 3S-Smart Software Solutions and Taiwan-based Advantech Co., Ltd., along with its California subsidiary, was prompted by a complaint filed in August by Rockwell.

“Rockwell Automation is serious about protecting our intellectual property and patent infringement. When it’s violated, we will aggressively pursue it,” said John Miller, Rockwell Automation vice president and chief counsel, intellectual property.

The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The investigation focuses on programmable industrial controllers and software used in the automation of factories, warehouse and utilities. Rockwell’s complaint alleges the violations occurred in the importation and sale of those produces. It asks the commission to issue limited exclusion and cease-and-desist orders.

An administrative law judge will hold evidentiary hearings on the case and determine whether a violation occurred. That finding is subject to review by the full commission.

The USITC will set a target date for completion of the investigation within 45 days.

Representatives from the companies named in the investigation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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