US exempts tariffs, locks patent disputes to settle!
Resilient Flooring Branch • Great news for the industry: US exempts tariffs, locks patent disputes to settle! !! !!
Recently, the United States released the third batch of tariff exemption lists, announcing the exemption of tariffs on elastic flooring products. Patent giants Unilin, I4F, and Välinge have reached a settlement in the lawsuit on locking patents. These two major events have eliminated the policy uncertainty and technical uncertainty faced by elastic flooring in the long-term development in the future. It is expected that domestic flexible flooring factories will maintain a booming production and sales trend in the next two to three years!
Tariff exemption favors export to the U.S.
On November 7, 2019, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released a new batch of exemption lists, announcing exemptions for some products that have been subject to additional tariffs since September 2018 (that is, the “US $ 200 billion tariff list”). The exemption period is from 2018. From September 24 to August 7, 2020, exempted products include PVC elastic flooring, which corresponds to US Customs Import Code 3911.10.1,000, covering most of the bulk elastic flooring.
Although the exemption period expires on August 7, 2020, experts from the Association are optimistic that the exemption will be sustainable. After the expiration of this exemption, flexible flooring products will receive tariff exemption again.
Because when the US Trade Representative Office imposes tariffs on Chinese goods, it lists the conditions under which US companies apply for “tariff exemptions.” The exemption conditions include three aspects, that is, “whether the product has an alternative source of supply outside China”, “whether the tariff would seriously damage the interests of the U.S. company or the U.S. applying for the application”, “whether the product is relevant to China’s industrial plan It has important strategic significance. “
Given that more than 90% of the elastic floorboards in the United States are imported from China, it is closely related to the daily lives of American consumers and the interests of American distributors and retailers, and this state will not happen in just a few months Major changes.
Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that after the end of this exemption period, elastic flooring will continue to receive tariff exemptions.
Attachment: US Trade Representative Office Tariff Exemption Link
Reconciliation of the two major patent groups
On November 12, Unilin, I4F and Willinger respectively issued official press releases on their official website and official WeChat account, stating that the parties have reached a settlement. The main elements of the settlement agreement include:
First, the settlement agreement covers the so-called “new material products”, that is, thermoplastic or mineral-based locking floor products, which are commercially known as luxury vinyl flooring (LVT), polyvinyl chloride flooring (PVC), and multilayer flooring ( MLF), waterproof polymer core floor (WPC), solid polymer composite floor (SPC), expanded polymer core floor (EPC), polypropylene floor (PP), polyurethane floor (PU), and magnesia floor (MgO ). According to the settlement agreement, each party can expand the protection of patent users of the other party under certain conditions.
Second, on this basis, all parties will withdraw all pending lawsuits in the United States and Europe.
Third, with regard to flexible floor products suspected of patent infringement, UNILIN’s 337 investigation to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) will continue to advance. For related parties without additional UNILIN protection, the US Customs will be able to accordingly Resilient flooring products are blocked outside the United States. ITC is expected to rule in the first half of 2020.
Under the agreement with Unilin, I4F has the right to ensure that its licensees are not affected by the ongoing ITC process initiated by Unilin in the United States.
In the past few years, the three major patent companies have filed multiple lawsuits on the validity and legality of lock-related patents worldwide, which has brought a lot of legal uncertainty to the development of the flexible flooring industry. Development, innovation and investment bring a lot of disturbances and risks.
The above two major events have far-reaching effects on the development of the industry, especially for companies such as Taizhou Huali, Aili Home Furnishing, and China Resources East, which have major sales markets in the United States.
We expect benchmarking companies to seize opportunities and continue to expand their competitive advantages, while giving full play to their leading role, increasing investment in technology research and development and brand building, strengthening innovation capabilities, and contributing to the healthy and sustainable development of the industry!