The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last week issued a mandate to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to act again on the three-year-old complaint filed by Energizer, which claims infringement of its mercury-free alkaline battery patent.
If Energizer has its way, then 26 companies that are currently importing mercury-free alkaline batteries into the U.S. would either be prohibited from importing and selling these batteries or be ordered to put mercury back into their batteries.
“In effect, the decision means that any company in the world that manufactures mercury-free alkaline batteries is at legal risk if it imports the infringing products,” Energizer said in a statement.
“We are pleased that this case has been sent back to the ITC for review,” said Michael Pophal, senior patent counsel at Energizer. “By issuing this mandate, the appeals court has cleared the way for additional inquiry into whether those companies that import mercury-free alkaline batteries into the United States are doing so illegally.”If it is indeed determined that they are doing so illegally, the ITC will then determine the appropriate remedy for that illegal activity,” Pophal said.