Judge Rules Nortek Did Not Infringe on Chamberlain Access Control Patent

U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Nortek Security & Control was not in violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

SAN DIEGO — Nortek Security & Control announced that an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a notice finding that there was no violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in connection with the patent infringement action brought against Nortek by The Chamberlain Group.

Chamberlain, a leader in garage door opener and access control solutions, had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nortek on Nov. 30, 2017.  The company asserted that Nortek violated:

  • S. Patent No. 8,587,404 – issued November 19, 2013, the ’404 patent improves the safe operation of movable barriers;
  • S. Patent No. 7,755,223 – issued January 13, 2010, the ’223 patent makes movable barrier systems more energy-efficient; and
  • S. Patent No. 6,741,052 – issued May 25, 2004, the ’052 patent provides for a safe and effective force threshold for operation of a movable barrier system.

The complaint was filed in United States District Court in San Diego.

In its complaint, Chamberlain said it invests substantial resources in research and development of access control products, and has received numerous patents for its inventions.

The ALJ found that none of the products Nortek currently sells infringe any of Chamberlain’s patents and that one of the asserted patents is invalid. In addition, the ALJ ordered Chamberlain to pay attorney fees and costs to compensate Nortek for Chamberlain’s sanctionable conduct during discovery. The action is Investigation Number 337-TA-1118. Nortek has not yet received a public version of the ALJ’s full opinion.

“We have been vindicated by the ALJ’s determination, which is underscored by her decision to sanction Chamberlain for its improper conduct, and we look forward to maintaining her ruling if Chamberlain asks that it be reviewed by the Commission,” said Dan Schatz, senior vice president and general counsel at Nortek.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to honor intellectual property rights and will continue to innovate and develop our own new products to bring to market for our customers,” Schatz continues.

In June 2018 Chamberlain filed a complaint with the ITC requesting an investigation pertaining to certain products of Nortek. The complaint sought an exclusion order barring the importation, sale for importation and sale after importation of products that were alleged to infringe certain Chamberlain patents. An evidentiary hearing was held before the ALJ in June 2019. NSC is represented by Matt Bernstein, Jim Coughlan, Kevin Patariu, Joe Reid and Evan Day of Perkins Coie, LLP.

Nortek’s family of brands include 2GIG, Elan, Furman, Gefen, GoControl, Linear, Mighty Mule, Niles, Numera, Panamax, Proficient, SpeakerCraft, Sunfire and Xantech.

This article first appeared in SSI sister publication cepro.com

About the Author

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Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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