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Bipartisan Congressional Trio Takes Up Case of Germantown firm

Three members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation have asked federal agencies to investigate the Chinese furniture company facing a $104 million verdict award in a case brought by a Germantown firm, Raffel Systems, LLC.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and Republican Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Glenn Grothman signed letters to the heads of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

This example of a multinational corporation deploying a calculated and duplicitous assault against a Wisconsin small business highlights the significant challenges that American businesses face from intellectual property theft by bad-faith actors, specifically from China," reads the letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

"No American worker should ever have their hard-earned paychecks jeopardized by these kinds of abusive trade practices, and your agency initiating an investigation could prevent Man Wah from continuing its practice of stealing intellectual property from other small businesses across Wisconsin and the country."

Raffel's Germantown headquarters is in Fitzgerald's district, an area formerly represented by Grothman before maps were redrawn. As senator, Baldwin represents the whole state. The office of Sen. Ron Johnson did not return a message asking if he was also asked to sign the letters.

Raffel makes multi-function cupholders that control movements in theater-style seating. In 2018, it sued Man Wah Holdings, LTD, a major customer, after learning Man Wah started using counterfeits of Raffel's products in Man Wah's furniture. The move came to light after the knockoffs began failing in great numbers and retailers and consumers blamed Raffel.

Read the full article by Bruce Vielmetti here: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel