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U.S. officials call for federal investigation into Manwah’s trade practices after Raffel Systems ruling

Written by Jean Marie Layton in Furniture Today:  

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) sent a series of letters to federal agencies calling for an investigation into Manwah Holdings’ trade practices in light of a federal court ruling in favor of Raffel Systems.

The Congressional members are calling for a series of investigations by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Trade Commission and U.S. International Trade Commission regarding an intellectual property dispute that was ruled in Raffel’s favor with $100 million in damages being awarded to the company by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The suit concerned Raffel’s patented lighted cupholder used in motion upholstery.

“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,” the members of Congress wrote in the letter to the FTC.

“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 Manwah from continuing its practice of stealing intellectual property from other small businesses across Wisconsin and the country,” the Wisconsin officials stated.

“We are grateful that Senator Baldwin, Representative Fitzgerald and Representative Grothman recognize the importance of protecting intellectual property and for working to hold Man Wah accountable for its unfair, anti-competitive behavior,” said Paul Stangl, executive chairman of Raffel Systems. “We hope the federal agencies will investigate this matter and put a stop to Manwah’s disregard for proprietary technology.”