Tap Wars: Delta Faucet Company’s Patent Dispute with Sanitary Ware

In the modern era of technological advancements and the burgeoning landscape of online commerce, the interconnection of patent law with the dynamics of e-commerce platforms presents intricate challenges. A recent legal dispute between Wenzhou Xin Xin Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. (“Sanitary Ware” or “Plaintiff”) and Delta Faucet Company (“DFC”) illuminates the complexities faced by international entities selling products on major online platforms like Amazon, particularly concerning allegations of patent infringement.

PatentPhoto-300x264According to the complaint, Sanitary Ware, a Chinese-based company operating as “HGN Sanitary Ware,” sells kitchen appliances and accessories, including glass rinsers, primarily through the Amazon Marketplace. Court documents also describe DFC, as an American plumbing fixture manufacturer under Masco Corporation, who is alleging patent infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 11,473,277 (“the ‘277 Patent”) against specific Xin Glass Rinsers listed by Sanitary Ware on Amazon.

DFC claims ‘277 Patent details a rinsing apparatus comprising components like a mounting base, fluid discharge member, valve member, and escutcheon. DFC says they initiated an Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (“APEX”) proceeding against Sanitary Ware’s Xin Glass Rinser based on claim 1 of the ‘277 Patent, and Sanitary Ware chose not to participate in the APEX, leading Amazon to remove the listing of the disputed Xin Glass Rinser.

Sanitary Ware, in response, seeks a declaratory judgment of non-infringement under the Declaratory Judgment Act and U.S. Patent Laws. They argue that their Xin Glass Rinsers do not meet the specific limitations outlined in the ‘277 Patent’s independent claims. Specifically, they contend that essential elements, critical for the function, are absent in their Xin Glass Rinsers as defined by the patent claims. Moreover, they highlight the absence of certain detailed features specified in the independent claims in their product design.

In seeking legal recourse, Sanitary Ware requests the court to issue injunctions against DFC, compelling the withdrawal of infringement complaints against Xin Glass Rinsers and refraining from further accusations. They seek a declaration that the Xin Glass Rinsers do not infringe any valid claims of the ‘277 Patent. Additionally, they request the court to adjudicate this case as an exceptional circumstance and award Sanitary Ware their costs, expenses, and attorney fees.

The case has been forwarded to Judge Matthew P. Brookman and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker, in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana, and reassigned Indiana Case No. 1:23-cv-01633-MPB-TAB.


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