ITC rules in favor of Leviton
Leviton Manufacturing Co. has prevailed in a dispute over intellectual property rights involving Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). On April 27, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a general exclusion order “prohibiting the unlicensed importation of infringing ground fault circuit interrupters and products containing same.” In addition, the ITC issued several cease and desist orders prohibiting the sale of GFCIs already in the United States that unlawfully infringe on a Leviton U.S. patent.
“We are hopeful that this decision brings an end to importation of infringing GFCIs,” said Meir Blonder, chief intellectual property counsel at Leviton. “Due to the nature of the product, it is important that both commercial and residential consumers be confident that the GFCIs available in the market are legitimate, lawful products.”
The general exclusion order not only brings an end to the unlawful activity of the parties accused at the ITC, but prohibits all entities from importing such infringing GFCIs, according to Leviton.
Leviton offers a wide variety of GFCI devices to provide protection from electrical incidents in homes, offices, construction sites or anywhere electrical products are in damp or wet locations. The Melville, N.Y.-based company also manufactures of electrical wiring devices, data center connectivity solutions and lighting energy management systems.
Sales, profits rise at Trex
Trex, a manufacturer of composite decking and railing products, reported net sales for the first quarter of 2012 of $96.1 million, a 39% increase over net sales of $69.0 million for the same period in 2011.
The Winchester, Va.-based company reported net income of $12.3 million for its first quarter, which ended March 31, 2012. This compares to net income of $5.1 million for the prior-year period.
In a prepared statement, chairman, president and CEO Ronald Kaplan noted: “Our first quarter sales were 7% above guidance. Our best-in-class product platform, combined with market share gains, helped us exceed our revenue target. [These] results also represent the second highest first-quarter EPS performance since the company went public in 1999.”
Kaplan concluded, “We continue to see a strong shift in the market towards ultra-low-maintenance wood alternative products. With our expanding [product portfolio], we are off to a great start for the year. Based on the market demand we are currently seeing, we expect net sales of approximately $90 million for the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 15% from last year’s period.”
Increases in retail container traffic expected through back-to-school season
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports will be flat in May compared with the same month last year, but is expected to see solid year-over-year increases through this summer and the back-to-school season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Consumers are spending despite gas prices and other economic concerns, so retailers are stocking up to meet the demand,” said NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “These numbers show imports growing through the back-to-school season and even into the beginning of the shipping cycle for the holiday season. That’s a sign that retailers are expecting a good year.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.18 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units in March, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 14.1% from February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, and 8.5% from March 2011. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.
April was estimated at 1.24 million TEU, up 2% from a year ago, and May is forecast at 1.28 million TEU, the same as last year. June is forecast at 1.3 million TEU, up 4%; July at 1.35 million TEU, up 1.8%; August at 1.42 million TEU, up 7.2%; and September at 1.45 million TEU, up 8.7%.
The first half of 2012 should total 7.3 million TEU, up 1.9% from the same period last year. The total for 2011 was 14.8 million TEU, up 0.4% from 2010’s 14.75 million TEU. NRF projects 2012 retail sales will grow 3.4% to $2.53 trillion.