Lighting control manufacturer Lutron Electronics Co. Inc. has filed actions before the International Trade Commission and the United States District Court for the Central District of California against several manufacturers, importers and distributors of knock-off dimming controls made in China. The complaints allege willful infringement of Lutron’s U.S. Patent No. 5,637,930, titled “Wall-Mountable Switch & Dimmer,” covering proprietary Lutron lighting control technology, and seek treble damages.
Lutron’s Diva dimmer switch (left) and Pass & Seymour’s Harmony dimmer switch (right), viewed as installed.
The respondents in the ITC action include Pass & Seymour, a subsidiary of Legrand Holding, SA of Limoges, France, Zhejiang Yuelong Mechanical & Electrical Co. LTD, Zhejiang Lux Electric Company LTD, Wenzhou Huir Electric Science & Technology Co LTD, American Top Electric Corp., AH Lighting, Elemental LED LLC, and Westgate Mfg. Inc. The U.S. importers and distributors of the dimmers are named in the District Court action.
Pass & Seymour and the other defendants manufacture and sell products that Lutron alleges are made to look like Lutron’s popular Diva dimmers. The Pass & Seymour lighting control products accused of infringement include certain Harmony dimmers.
Lutron’s complaints request that Pass & Seymour and the other Chinese manufacturers be enjoined from manufacturing, selling, or importing the knock-off dimmers. Lutron also asks that the defendants be ordered to pay damages, including damages for willful infringement of that patent.
“Lutron annually invests millions of dollars on hundreds of U.S.-based engineers to research and develop elegant and innovative products, which it protects with its patents,” said Joel Spira, Lutron’s chairman, founder, and director of research. “Regrettably, Chinese manufacturers and U.S. importers who want to cut corners simply copy Lutron and infringe its patents. They must be stopped,” Spira said.