Legislation & Legal

Jangho and Permasteelisa File an Appeal of Chinese Curtainwall Ruling

The legal battle between Chinese and domestic curtainwall companies continues after Jangho Curtain Wall Americas Co., Permasteelisa North America Corp., Permasteelisa South China Factory and Permasteelisa Hong Kong Ltd., filed an appeal jointly against the U.S. Court of International Trade’s (CIT) December 2017 decision to uphold a U.S. Department of Commerce’s scope determination for the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on aluminum extrusions from China. The ruling stated that Chinese curtainwall is subject to U.S. tariffs on aluminum extrusions imported from China.

According to David Spooner, partner at law firm Barnes & Thornburg, the next step in the process is for the involved parties to file briefs. Permasteelisa and Jangho’s briefs were due by mid-April, but at press time had yet to be filed. The briefs of the domestic curtainwall manufacturers Architectural Glass & Aluminum (AGA), Bagatelos and Walters & Wolf, and the Department of Justice will be due in late May 2018. An oral argument will be scheduled after the briefing. The entire process could take up to a year.

“There’s one important point: Despite Yuanda’s vow to appeal, Yuanda did not appeal. Yuanda gave up. The entire fight involved a petition filed by Yuanda, in which Yuanda asked [the Department of ] Commerce and the lower court to declare that Yuanda’s curtainwall units were exempt from the unfair trade tariffs. Permasteelisa and Jangho may not have standing to appeal a decision involving Yuanda’s products when Yuanda itself hasn’t appealed. If Permasteelisa and Jangho don’t have standing to pursue the case in Yuanda’s absence, the case may end very quickly—a lot faster than a year,” says Spooner.

John D’Amario, Northwest USA sales manager of the America division of Yuanda USA Corp. told USGlass magazine why Yuanda chose not to appeal.

“Since the CIT’s ruling does not affect our current or future business in North America, we’ve elected not to appeal,” he says. “These days there seem to be many Americans that would like the world to stop rotating and, try as they might, we are charted for progression.”

On March 7, the Curtain Wall Coalition, a coalition of U.S. curtainwall producers that advocates for fair trade in curtainwall products, released a statement in which it vowed to defend the recent CIT decision.

“Domestic curtainwall producers are grateful for the U.S. Commerce Department’s ruling that Chinese curtainwall producers engage in unfair trade behavior. We’ve won at the lower court and anticipate a successful defense at the Court of Appeals,” said Tom Black, COO of coalition member Walters & Wolf, in the statement. “Our companies make the highest-quality products in the world. We welcome competition. The law, for good reason, forbids foreign companies from engaging in anti-competitive behavior by exporting dumped and subsidized products to the U.S. We look forward to the day when Chinese companies don’t have to rely on illegally subsidized and dumped sales to be competitive in the U.S. market.”

“We’re making sure Commerce’s ruling, which has been upheld several times by the courts, is enforced. Chinese companies often try to avoid unfair trade tariffs by mislabeling, misclassifying, and transshipping their ex-ports. Let’s be clear: If you buy Chinese curtainwall, it is subject to unfair trade tariffs. We’ll work with U.S. Customs to make sure illegal circumvention doesn’t occur in the curtainwall industry. There are very substantial penalties for buying Chinese curtainwall that has evaded unfair trade tariffs,” added Joe Brescia, the former CEO of AGA.

In December 2017, the CIT upheld the Department of Commerce’s determination that Chinese curtainwall is subject to U.S. tariffs.

Vesuvius Files Patent Infringement Suit

Vesuvius, a global manufacturer of fused silica refractory rollers used in glass tempering, glass forming, solar and metallurgical industries, has announced legal action in a European court against overseas companies it accuses of infringing upon its intellectual property rights associated with Smartly Driven roll patents and end cap attachment technology.

According to Marcus Bancroft, sales manager Americas at Vesuvius USA, the company patented the technology in 2008. Last year, someone approached Vesuvius with a part they needed duplicated. The part allegedly used the same patented Vesuvius technology, according to Ban-croft, but was not made by Vesuvius.

Following an extensive investigation, Vesuvius identified several patent violations associated with fused silica roll technology, which is used in tempering furnaces.

“Every tempering furnace has a set of rollers inside,” says Bancroft. “These rollers are made by Vesuvius in three locations around the world: France, the U.S. and China. The rollers are made of a special type of ceramic that can withstand the temperature inside the furnace without changing shape. These ceramic rollers are attached to the furnace mechanism by metal endcaps. The patented technology is called Smartly Driven, and it replaced glue as a means of attaching the endcaps on the roll. Glue is fragile and easily damaged by heat. Smartly Driven is an all-mechanical, metal system that can withstand heat and other forces.”

A typical furnace can contain between 50 and 300 rolls.

Vesuvius is working to make OEM furnace builders aware of the alleged infringement.

”…if rollers with such end caps are incorporated into a furnace, both the OEM and the end of customer could unknowingly be infringing on Vesuvius’ patents. Such infringement, even if inadvertent and resolved amicably, could result in significant expenses for replacement of infringing rollers, in addition to unnecessary disturbance of customers’ operation,” reads a company release.

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