Friday, June 27, 2014

Women’s Scarves Recalled by Julie Vos Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard

Name of product: Julie Vos women’s scarves

Hazard: The scarves fail to meet the federal flammability standard for wearing apparel and pose a risk of burn injury to consumers.

Remedy: Refund Consumer Contact: Julie Vos collect at (646) 448-4345 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email or online at and click on “Recall” for more information.


About 324

Description: This recall involves Julie Vos women’s scarves. The scarves are 100 percent modal fabric, a type of rayon, and were sold in two prints, Anchor and Sierra. Anchor was sold in three colors, including blue, green and orange. Sierra was sold in four colors, including raspberry/magenta, orange/peach, cream/gray and blue/purple. The scarves measure 75 inches long by 45 inches wide. Julie Vos is printed on a tag sewn into the back of the scarf.

Incidents/Injuries: There has been one report of a shawl catching fire. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at Specialty boutiques nationwide and online at from January 2014 through February 2014 for about $165.

Importer: Julie Vos, of New York

Manufacturer: Shaw & Brothers, Delhi, India

Manufactured in India.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

American Apparel Awarded Two Marine Corps Uniform Contracts

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Alabama, has been awarded a maximum $16,186,860 modification (P00104), exercising the second option period on a one-year base contract (SPM1C1-12-D-1039), with four one-year option periods. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for various types of combat utility uniform trousers. Locations of performance are Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina, with a June 27, 2015 performance completion date. Using military service is Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Alabama, has been awarded a maximum $15,314,832 modification (P00094), exercising the second option period on a one-year base contract (SPM1C1-12-D-1038), with four one-year option periods. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for various types of combat utility uniform blouses. Locations of performance are Alabama and Mississippi, with a June 27, 2015 performance completion date. Using military service is Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Bigger Picture

Since 2005, the Techtera cluster, an innovation cluster centered in the Rhone-Alpes (Lyon) region of France with a focus on textiles and flexible materials, commissions a review of scientific publications and patents in the textile industry.  The most recent version of the study, Who Patents What – In the Textile World, was released in December 2013.  While the details of the study were only shared with members of the cluster, the following information has become public. 

From the period of 2005 – 2012, the study identified 190,000 patents that were issued worldwide for textiles and composites.  Asian countries (mainly China, Japan and South Korea) accounted for 74% of patent applications.  The US accounted for 13%.

Manufacturers filed for 57% of these patents.  Universities filed for 12%.  The majority of University patents were filed by Chinese Universities.

In the period, about 40,000 applications were filed in the Health and Beauty sectors, 36,000 in the Transportation sectors, 20,000 patents each in the Protection and the Construction sectors.

The study also pointed out that in the period, there were over 85,000 scientific papers and conferences related to textiles and composites.  Chinese universities are the top publishers.

 Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Impact-attenuation members and products containing such members:  A tubular spring like structure that redirects energy perpendicular to the initial direction of the force.  Patent #:  US 8650774.  Inventors:  Aveni,  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Article of footwear having a sole structure with perimeter and central elements:  A sole structure for footwear that includes a perimeter element with central elements, which may be fluid-filled chambers. The central elements can be fitted into the perimeter elements.  The arrangement allows the assembly of soles with central chambers of varying compressibility.  Patent:   8650775.  Inventor:  Peyton.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Channeled sole for an article of footwear:  A sole structure comprising an outsole having a ground-contacting layer and a channel that projects upward from the ground-contacting layer. Patent:  8650776.  Inventors:  Hazenberg and Schindler.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc. 

Article of footwear having a flat knit upper construction or other upper construction.  Shoe with a flat knitted textile based upper.  Patent #:  8650916.  Inventors:  Dua and Thomas.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Front closure bra with crisscrossing straps:  A bra comprising a pair of breast cups, a front opening closure connected to the breast cups, a pair of generally triangular side panels, each of the generally triangular side panels containing vertical boning connecting each of the generally triangular side panels to a different breast cup; a pair of crisscrossing straps, each crisscrossing strap coupled to the top of the vertical boning on one generally triangular side panel and the bottom of the boning on an opposite generally triangular side panel.  Patent:  8651917.  Inventors:  Lopez and Lopez.  Not Assigned.

Advanced engineered garment:  A dual layer under body armor hybrid fabric garment.  The outer layer is made of fire retardant materials for protection while the inner layer is an elastic fabric (for comfort) also made of fire retardant materials.  Patent:  8656512.  Inventor:  Rock,  Assignee:  Mmi-Ipco, LLC.

Sports glove with impact force attenuation system:  A force attenuation system for a sports (baseball) glove.  The force attenuation system includes a pair of foam layers surrounding a fluid-filled chamber. This configuration allows the force attenuation system to reduce forces that a hand experiences when catching a ball with the glove.
Patent:  8656513.  Inventor:  Plocher.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Padding system:  A modular padding system for outdoor garments that is removable, replaceable, comfortable and secure while maintaining an aesthetically neat and trim look. Patent:  8656514.  Inventor:  Neuron. Assignee:  Patagonia, Inc.

Performance apparel with flexible portion:  An athletic garment may comprising multiple layers where each layer is patterned to provide specific functions.  This allows for garments that can be customized for multiple parameters such as fit or range of motion.   Patent:  8656515.  Inventor:  Newton.  Assignee:  Reebok International Limited.

Children's clothing with hidden harness and exterior handholds:  An article of clothing for children with a hidden harness attached to the interior of the clothing structure and exterior handholds attached to the hidden harness. When a handhold is pulled, the force is spread over the entire hidden harness allowing the force of the grasp to be evenly distributed across the child's frame. The handholds also provide a place of attachment for an extension tether strap. The clothing structure used may be a full body garment, upper body garment, lower body garment or infant garment.  Patent:  8656516.  Inventors:  Rawlings and Reinhardt.  Not Assigned.

Article of footwear including a woven strap system.  A shoe with a woven strap system.  The sole is formed with multiple straps attached to the edge of the sole.  A footbed is placed on top of the sole and a shoe liner/interior component is placed on top of the foot bed.  The straps are fitted into outside of the interior component and are then held in place by the shoelaces.  In effect, the shoelaces hold the entire shoe together.  Patent:  8656606Inventor:  Hooper.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Soles for shoes or other footwear having compartments with computer processor-controlled variable pressure:  An athletic shoe, with a shoe sole with two fluid filled compartments, connected in such a way that the force of the step is cushioned in an anatomically appropriate way.  This shoe is seriously engineered.  Patent:  8656607.  Inventor:  Ellis.  Assignee:  Anatomic Research, Inc. 

Article of footwear with a sole structure having fluid-filled support elements:  A shoe with two fluid filled chamber inserts.  Patent:  8656608.  Inventor:  Goodwin and Crowley.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc. 

Articles with retractable traction elements:  Retractable cleats for use in a shoe.  Patent:  8656610.  Inventor:  Baucom and Gerber.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Articles with retractable traction elements:  Sister patent to the above patent.  Patent:  8656611.  Inventor:  Baucom and Gerber.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

Friday, June 20, 2014

$8 Million Parachute Systems Contract Awarded

Airborne Systems North America of California, Inc., was awarded an $8,099,431 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for foreign military sales customers India, Jordan, Moldova and Romania. The total estimated quantities are: 37 T-11 personnel parachute systems, eight T-11 spare parts packages, 825 MC-6 personnel parachute systems, and eight MC-6 spare parts packages. Funding and work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 16, 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-D-0064).

Venerable American Wool Company Name Resurrected and Has Purchased Warren Corporation in Connecticut, Production to Resume Shortly

In a telephone conversation last night, investor Jacob Long confirmed the he has purchased Warren Corporation of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and plans to resume production of fine worsted for menswear. In 2013 Long purchased the rights to the iconic name American Woolen Company with the intention of manufacturing wool textiles in the United States. For more on the purchase and plans to reopen the Stafford Springs facility see the story in today's Hartford Courant.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AAFA Webinar: VPEP - A New Resource for Chemical Traceability

The American Apparel and Footwear Assocition (AAFA) announces an informational and training webinar on the Voluntary Product Environmental Profile (VPEP), a supplier disclosure form that facilitates the efficient exchange of information on the chemicals and environmental processes used in the textiles, apparel, and footwear supply chains. The webinar will be offered Tuesday, June 24th, and is FREE.

Suppliers can use VPEP to easily share information on the chemicals and other components of their products - while still protecting confidential business information. At the same time, buyers can request VPEPs from their suppliers in order to have a better understanding of what is in their products and help maintain supply chain traceability.

During this webinar, you will learn how VPEP can help your company exchange vital information with your suppliers and see a demonstration of the easy-to-use VPEPxchange platform.

For more information, or to register, go to

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Meredith Broadbent Name to Head USITC

President Barack Obama has designated Meredith M. Broadbent, a Republican of Virginia, as Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for the term June 17, 2014, through June 16, 2016.

Broadbent was nominated to the USITC by President Barack Obama on November 8, 2011. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2, 2012, and was sworn in on September 10, 2012, for the Commission term expiring on June 16, 2017.

Broadbent held the William M. Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from October 2010 until her appointment.

From 2003 to 2008, she served as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Industry, Market Access, and Telecommunications. In that position, she was responsible for developing U.S. policy that affected trade in industrial goods, telecommunications, and e-commerce. She led the U.S. negotiating team for the Doha Round negotiations to reduce tariff and nontariff barriers on industrial goods and successfully concluded an innovative plurilateral trade agreement with the European Union, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. She also directed an administration initiative to reform the Generalized System of Preferences program for developing countries.

From 2009 to 2010 she was a Trade Advisor at the Global Business Dialogue, a multinational business association focused on international trade and investment issues.

Earlier in her career, Broadbent served as a senior professional staff member on the Republican staff of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives. In that position, she drafted and managed major portions of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, legislation to authorize normal trade relations with China, and the Trade Act of 2002, which included trade promotion authority and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act.

Prior to that, she served as professional staff for the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, where she was instrumental in the development and House passage of the implementing bills for the North American Free Trade Agreement and Uruguay Round Agreements.

Broadbent holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from in history from Middlebury College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she is married to Charles Riedel, has two sons, Charles and William, and resides in McLean, Virginia.

The USITC is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement. Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for nine-year terms, unless they are appointed to fill unexpired terms. The Chairman and the Vice Chairman are designated by the President for two-year terms in those positions.

Agathon Associates Adds Customs Brokerage Service for Clients

In a ceremony Tuesday at the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Federal Building in Boston international business consultant David Trumbull received his Customs Broker license from Helen T. Sterling, Director of the Port of Boston. Ms. Sterling congratulated Trumbull on passing the Customs Broker Examination -- which, with a reported success rate of just 5%, is said to be more difficult than the bar exam -- and said, "This significant accomplishment authorizes you to conduct Customs business on behalf of others, and empowers you to uphold the regulations set forth in 19 CFR 111 [Customs regulations]."

Agathon Associates is proud to be able to add Custom Broker services to its list of services to the textile and trade community. The License (#30179) is held by David Trumbull.

After the income tax, the largest source of revenue for the U.S. government is the duty collected on imported merchandise. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, relies on its partnership with the approximately 11,000 licensed Customs Brokers nationwide to further its mission of facilitating legitimate trade and to ensure compliance with the Priority Trade areas of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties, Import Safety, Intellectual Property Rights, Textiles, and Trade Agreements.

Supreme Questions

As the Supreme Court term is coming to a close, I thought it might be worthwhile to write a post on the patent related decisions from this term.

Limelight vs Akamai Technologies: 

In order for technology or a method to infringe on a patent two things are required.  First, all of the elements contained in the claim of the patent must be contained in the technology or method in question.  Second, all the elements of the claim must be attributed to a single actor or several actors under the control of a single actor.  In addition, a defendant cannot “induce” infringement.   An example of induced infringement would be when a company builds and packages all the elements of a patented technology and sells the technology to a customer who  assembles the patented technology. 

In the Limelight case, Limelight performed all the steps of the patent but had the customer perform the last step of the patented technology.  In the facts of the case, Limelight documented how to accomplish the last step and provided technical support to customers as needed but never actually performed the last step.

The plaintiffs agreed that the patent was not directly infringed because by its nature the Vendor-Customer relationship did not imply the control of a single actor.  Akamai argued, and the lower appeals court agreed, that even though Limelight had not infringed on the patent, they were liable for damages because they induced infringement. 

The Supreme Court ruled that a patent has to be directly infringed before one can make a claim for induced infringement.  In short, the reasoning was that if a patent isn’t infringed directly, it cannot be infringed through inducement.

Nautilus vs. Biosig Instruments: 

This case is about the definiteness requirement for patents.  According to the law, a specification must be clear enough to be understood by a person “skilled in the art.”  A claim, when read within the context of the specification and patent history, must be precise enough to provide clear notice to the public of what is claimed and the boundaries of the claim.  As a result of this, the public would also know what is still available for innovation and experimentation.  Another way to state this is that patent claims should be clear enough to allow people to design around them.

Over the last 10 years, appeals court decisions had been moving towards two definiteness standards called “amenable to construction” and “insolubly ambiguous.”  While opinions differ, I believe that a reasonable English translation of how these standards were to be applied would be:  if a claim has only one plausible interpretation and it is not appropriate to further narrow the claim, then the claim could be considered definite. 

The Supreme Court ruled that these standards were not sufficient to meet the legal standard of providing clear public notice of the claim and its boundaries. 

Octane Fitness vs. Icon Health and Fitness:  

This was a case about fee shifting or ordering the loser to pay the winner’s legal fees.  There is a provision in the 1952 Patent Law (which is still the basis for today’s law) that allows for fee shifting in “exceptional” cases.  Over time, this has been interpreted to mean cases of legal misconduct or if the case was obviously baseless or brought in “bad faith.” 

With this ruling, the Supreme Court significantly increases a judge’s flexibility in these matters and reduces the burden of proof from a standard of “proof of entitlement” to the judge’s discretion.  The court's reasoning was as follows:  fee shifting based on of misconduct, baselessness, and bad faith was well established in law other than patent law; therefore, Congress must have had a less restrictive standard in mind when they included this provision in the patent law.

While these issues are not bombshells, I believe that the Limelight and Nautilus decisions will generate a lot of practical and cautionary issues for patents going forward.  I will discuss these in later posts.

 Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Processing line of bast fiber:  A processing line for bast fiber comprising various devices for carding, cutting, degumming, high temperature washing, separating and water washing, softening, drying, batching and applying oil, permeating and reconditioning, stretching-breaking carding, and combing and sorting. Benefits are improved efficiency, fiber stability and improved the yield of long hemp fibers. Patent #: 8650717 Inventosr:  Hao,  Assignee:  China-Hemp Industrial Investment Holdings Co., Ltd.

In yarn production, apron cladding mechanism and method to the rollers coated with elastic material and found in the drafting and guiding zone, having shift structure and pre-tensioning mechanism: The invention reduces the abrasive impact of fiber or yarn on rollers coated with elastic material.  Patent #:  8650718 Inventor:  Isik.  Assignee:  Ozdilek Ev Tekstil Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi.

Branched stent/graft and method of fabrication:  Branched stent or graft devices and the process for braiding the stent or graft in one piece.  Patent:  8651007 Inventor:  Adams.  Assignee:  AGA Medical Corporation, Inc.

Multi-needle sewing machine:  A multi-needle sewing machine which has a simple construction compact size and can prevent thread entanglement without passing the threads through tubes..  Patent:  8651035 Inventor:  Fukao.  Assignee:  Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha.

Method for simultaneously weaving two fabrics, fabric adapted to be woven with such a method and loom usable with such a method:  A method, for simultaneously weaving two (pile?) fabrics on a loom.  The loom weaves an inner layer and an outer layer (BL2, BL4) for each distance fabric and binds the inner and outer layers with connecting warp yarns extending between the inner and outer layers, and weaving pile warp yarns between the distance fabrics.  Patent:  8651150 Inventor:  Siebert.  Assignee:  Schonherr Textilmaschinenbau BMBH

Heat-resistant nonwoven fabric:  A heat-resistant nonwoven fabric formed from a poly(phenylene sulfide) fiber, and 30% by weight or more of the poly(phenylene sulfide) fiber has a crystallinity of 25 to 50%. The heat resistant properties are further improved by making the nonwoven fabric with a multilayer structure in which layers composed of a poly(phenylene sulfide) filamentary fiber and layers composed of a poly(phenylene sulfide) fine fiber are stacked and integrated.  Patent #:  8652977 Inventors:  Shimizu and Maeda.  Assignee:  Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Navy Uniform Contract Awarded

M&M Manufacturing, LLC, Lajas, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $21,207,508 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Navy working uniform blouses and trousers. This contract was a competitive acquisition with two offers received. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Location of performance is Puerto Rico with a June 15, 2015, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-14-D-1048).

Monday, June 16, 2014

FTZ Board Re-Opens Comment Period for CSI Calendaring Petition

On March 18, 2014, an application was submitted by the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, grantee of FTZ 39, requesting production authority on behalf of CSI Calendering, Inc. (CSI), located in Arlington, Texas. The proposed activity involves calendering, slitting, and laminating of certain RFL (resorcinol formaldehyde latex) textile fabrics (79 FR 16278-16279, 3-25-2014). Comments on the proposal were submitted by interested parties on May 27, 2014. Currently, the FTZ Board is inviting public comment on new evidence provided by CSI as part of its rebuttal comments submitted on June 6, 2014, on which there has not been an opportunity for public comment. The comment period on CSI's June 6 submission is open through July 16, 2014

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor Service may read more by CLICKING HERE. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at

Buhler Quality Yarns Corp. Files to Have Certain Ring Spun Yarns of Micro Modal Fibers Removed from DR-CAFTA Short Supply List

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) is considering a Request to Remove or Restrict certain ring spun yarns of micro modal fibers from Annex 3.25 (item #50) of the CAFTA-DR (file number: 186.2014.06.12.Yarn.Alston&BirdforBuhlerYarns), as specified below. Responses are due by 11:59 P.M. (EST), June 26, 2014. Rebuttals are due by 11:59 P.M. (EST), July 2, 2014.


Trade Fair: MSPO 2014
Location: Kielce, Poland
Dates: September 1st-4th, 2014

Show Description: Held annually in Kielce, Poland, MSPO International Defense Industry Exhibition is the world’s largest international trade show in Central and Eastern Europe for the defense and security industries. It is one of Europe’s three largest trade shows dedicated to the defense sector. Poland is major recipient of FMS funding and one of the fastest growing textiles markets. MSPO is a platform for manufacturers, retailers and designers to create new business opportunities on a global level.

Visitors: Approximately 13,000 visitors came to the MSPO 2013 trade fair. Furthermore, the 2013 MSPO show was attended by the President of Poland, Polish Defense Minister, Polish Foreign Affairs Minister, and other distinguished diplomats and politicians.

Exhibitors: Over 400 exhibitors from 23 countries were attracted to MSPO 2013. The show attracts buyers from throughout the region and represents an excellent venue for U.S. companies in the sectors of defense and security textiles.

Amenities: The Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce will feature a catalog/sample booth at MSPO 2013. Included in the package of services are the collections of leads that will be sent to each company in a spreadsheet after the show, promotion of samples on-site and the opportunity for pre- concurrent and post-show publicity for your company. The comprehensive pavilion package includes a cost-effective 9 sq. meter booth with multiple amenities priced at around 5,000 Euros.

Cost: OTEXA Sample Booth participation is $950 and limited to 10 US companies. For other companies who may seek to have their own booth, please contact Ms. Katarzyna Prostak, MSPO Project Director at or at +48413651298.

Why Should You Exhibit: MSPO 2014 is a meeting place for buyers from all over the world and consequently offers new points of contact to highly promising business regions in a country with one of the fastest growing textile markets.

For questions please call Mary Lynn Landgraf at 202-482-7909 or email her at

Marine Corps Clothing Contract Awarded

Crown Clothing Co., Vineland, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $7,709,253 modification (P00102) exercising the first option period on a 1-year base contract (SPM1C1-13-D-1059) with four 1-year option periods. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for various types of men's coats. Location of performance is New Jersey with a June 23, 2015, performance completion date. Using military service is Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New York Senate Considers Prohibiting the Use of Chemical Flame Retardants on Residential Upholstered Furniture

According to supporters of the bill Bill S4780A-2013 --

"Recent studies have shown that approximately 94 percent of couches manufactured after 2005 contain chemical flame retardants - in amounts capable of being measured in pounds. The flame retardant chemicals were added in response to a 1975 California flammability standard, TB 117, which was developed in response to concerns about the large number of cigarette fires.

"Scientific studies have demonstrated that meeting the requirements of TB 117 did not accurately reflect real-world fire behavior and that the addition of chemical flame retardants offered very little additional effectiveness. A study conducted by the United States Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, found that there were no significant differences in fire resistance between treated and untreated foams.

"The chemical flame retardants migrate out of furniture and into household dust. Because of their tendency to put items in their mouth, toddlers typically have three times the level of flame retardants as their parents. This exposure is on top of what babies are born with. An article in the Chicago Tribune stated "A typical American baby is born with the highest recorded concentrations of flame retardants among infants in the world." Many flame retardants, most notably halogenated chemical retardants, have been associated with adverse health impacts. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission identified the flame retardant Tris as a threat to human health, and California has identified Tris as a suspected human carcinogen. In addition, when combusted, chemical flame retardants can also form harmful by-products with the potential to affect the health of firefighters adversely. A recent study in San Francisco found that firefighters had two to three times the rate of flame retardants in their blood stream than average and found that the 110 female firefighters in the study experienced a risk of breast cancer that was nearly six times higher than the general population.

In addition, there is precedent for banning dangerous flame retardants. New York State has previously banned the use of the brominated flame retardant PentaBDE, and banned the use of Tris (TCEP) in children's products.

California has recently adopted revisions to TB 117, setting forth a new smolder standard that will allow manufactures to make upholstered furniture without the use of chemical flame retardants.This bill will require upholstered furniture for sale in New York to meet the recently adopted California standard. Removing toxic chemicals from upholstered furniture will protect public health and make it safer for emergency responders to fight fires.

The bill has passed the New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and is reported to be supported by the furniture industry, fire fighters and New York non-governmental organizations.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Provisional Applications

The problem was pretty simple.  By international treaty, an inventor who filed an application in a country other than the US could claim that priority date in a US application as long as the application was filed within a year of the foreign filing date.  In effect, this allowed foreign, but not domestic, applicants to claim a priority date that was earlier than the filing date of the US application. 

In order to give US inventors a similar ability to “lock-in” an early priority date, Congress authorized the provisional patent application in 1994.

Because people often, and incorrectly, refer to provisional applications as “provisional patents,” I want to make the following clear:   there is no such thing as a provisional patent.  And as a practical matter, provisional applications are not actually applications.  The USPTO takes no action on a provisional applications and by themselves these applications cannot result in a patent.  The provisional application provides no protection for an invention. 

Until a few years ago, opinions among patent agents and attorneys I spoke to were divided about the use of provisional applications.  Those who liked the provisional application would focus on the early priority date, ability to use the term “Patent Pending,” the low cost, and the 12 month period to allow for market evaluation.  Those who didn’t like the provisional application would point out that if you had the information required to write a good provisional application, it would be simpler and safer to write and file a non-provisional application.

The America Invents Act settled the argument.  Once the US moved to a first inventor to file system, the ability to get the earlier priority date trumped all.

While the argument is settled and the benefits are clear, it is important to remember that bad provisional applications can cause problems.  The two main pitfalls are:

Provisional applications are not placeholders: 

While claims and bibliographic information need not be provided, the specification and drawings in a provisional application have to meet the same requirements and standards for disclosure as a non-provisional application.  This is because they form the basis on which the eventual non-provisional application is built. A poorly written provisional application can be used later in the process to argue that the invention does not work or even to argue that an invention is not patentable. 

The provisional application only protects the invention described in the application.  Modifications and improvements have to be protected in later applications with later priority dates.

Finally, assume that drawings that meet USPTO standards are required in a provisional application.  While I realize that USPTO publications say otherwise, exceptions to the drawing requirements are rare. 

The 12 month window is firm:

In order to protect the priority date of a provisional application, a non-provisional or PCT application has to be filed within 12 months of the provisional application priority date.  There are no exceptions to this rule.

To apply for a provisional patent, an applicant needs to file a specification (without claims), drawings and a cover sheet.*   The current filing fee for a provisional application is $260.

With the passage of the America Invents Act, provisional applications have secured a place in the patenting process.  And that is my final point:  the provisional application is a part of the process and needs to be treated as such.  As with non-provisional and PCT applications, do not try to write a provisional application on your own.  Use an agent or attorney registered with the USPTO.

Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Method and apparatus for providing sleeves to an otherwise sleeveless garment:  A method and apparatus for supplying a variety of sleeves for wear with sleeveless outfits. A bust band with a closure circles the rib cage and the back. A pair of shoulder straps are attached to the bust band. Sleeves can be permanently attached or removable.  Patent #: 8650662.  Inventor:  Decker.  Not Assigned.

Bunting bag with cover:  A bunting bag useable with a child seat to cover a child.   Patent #: 8650663.  Inventor:  Fair and Kummerfield.  Assignee:  The Boppy Company, LLC.

Garment for protection from the elements:  A blanket fitted with a hood, sleeves and a seat cushion.  Intended to be worn as a protective garment during outdoor events.  Patent #:  8650664.  Inventor:  Parr.  Not Assigned. 

Bottom periphery length adjustment mechanism:  A band and slide buckle arrangement that can be put in a garment to adjust the length to the wearer.  Patent #: US 8650665.  Inventor:  Shirai.  Assignee:  Builmatel Company, Ltd.

Headgear attachment for portable audio device:  Baseball cap with compartment and ear bud holes added to accommodate a music playing device.  Patent #:  8650666.  Inventor:  Crutcher.  Not Assigned.

Protective garment with low friction characteristics:  A protective garment with an outer shell and an inner liner.  The inner liner is a base material woven of a base yarns and high lubricity yarns.  The high lubricity yarns are woven into the base material to form a plurality of discrete low friction contact areas.  Patent #: 8650668.  Inventor:  Curtis.  Assignee:  Lion Apparel, Inc.

Powdered dye material for concrete surfaces:  The invention herein provides for an improved dye material composed of a dry particulate mixture of azo and phthalocyanine dyes for concrete surface applications.  The result is a dry powder dye that can be used to dye cured concrete.  Patent:  8652219.   Inventor:  Howle.  Assignee:  Ameripolish, Inc.

Article of footwear with tubular sole assembly and method of manufacture:  A shoe sole that uses extruded hollow tubes to provide cushioning and support to a user's foot.  Patent:  8650690.  Inventors:  Ungari and Watkins.  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

*Correction:   In a prior post, I incorrectly stated that inventor information and bibliographic information would also be required in a provisional application.  While I would include this information if it was available, it is not necessary for the provisional application.  My apologies for any inconvenience this error may have caused

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

Monday, June 9, 2014


The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has announce that Juanita D. Duggan, an experienced trade association executive and lobbyist, will join the association on July 1 as President & CEO.

"Juanita has demonstrated time and again her relentlessness and dedication to succeed for her clients" said Rick Helfenbein, Chairman of AAFA. "Her ability to lead organizations, develop coalitions, and successfully manage complex lobbying efforts and public affairs campaigns is quite impressive."

"I look forward to taking the reins at AAFA and building on the fine work of my predecessor, Kevin Burke," said Duggan. "This is a great opportunity to up the association's game in an era of fast-paced change in the industry and the policy world. The apparel and footwear industry is a key driver of economic growth in the U.S. and globally. I can't wait to tell their story."

Bringing more than 25 years of experience on Capitol Hill and in the White House, Duggan will successfully add to the excellent team already in place at AAFA. Her experience includes multi-industry advocacy, fundraising, and representing several industries as primary spokesperson.

Juanita joins AAFA after three years as Policy Director at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Shreck, the 4th ranked lobbying firm in Washington. She worked for a diverse set of clients, including the retail sector.

When Duggan was President and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America from 1998-2006, her efforts led Congress to pass a law nullifying a provision that eliminated an unfair tax advantage, ending a 20-year battle for U.S. wholesalers to access this key tax credit. She also led WSWA to victory with the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, a law that reinforced the Constitution's grant of authority to the states over alcohol regulation.

Duggan is also the former president and CEO of American Forest and Paper Association, where from 2006-2007 she represented the forestry, timber and wood/paper products industry with a $40 million budget and a staff of 100. In addition, she has represented Philip Morris Companies, Inc. during the national tobacco settlement and the National Food Processors Association, where she was instrumental in passage of landmark food safety and nutrition labeling legislation.

Duggan's professional accomplishments in politics extend beyond advocacy. She was Special Assistant to President Bush for Cabinet Affairs from 1989-1990, Special Assistant to President Reagan for domestic policy and public liaison from 1987-1989 and served on Senate Committee staff from 1982-1984. Duggan has served on multiple boards including The Ripon Society, The Fund for American Studies, and chaired The Bryce Harlow Foundation. She received her bachelor's degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Agathon Associates Launches Trade Advisor Service

Agathon Associates is happy to announce the Trade Advisor, an annual subscription service designed to assist textile and related companies stay abreast of the latest developments in U.S. regulations affecting:

  • textile and wool product labeling,
  • consumer product safety regulations relating to textiles and related products,
  • foreign trade zone applications relating to textiles and related products,
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection tariff classification, country of origin, and marking regulations and decisions relating to textiles and textile products,
  • compliance with the regulations for free trade agreements and trade preference programs as they affect trade in textiles and textile products, and
  • proposed legislation that touches on rules and regulations for textiles and textile products.

Subscribers to this annual service will have access to valuable information on the subscribers-only pages of Agathon Associates website. Some of the recent postings on subscribers-only pages have included:

  • point-by-point analysis of the recent changes to the Federal Trade Commission Wool Rules,
  • background, including links to original submissions and rebuttals, relating to a recent foreign trade zone application for woven fabric of cotton or polyester,
  • update on recent development in the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement and details on the paperwork requirement for that program, and
  • detailed background and analysis of a recent foreign trade zone application relating to upholstery fabric.

Subscribers also benefit from the 20-years experience of Agathon Associates' Principal David Trumbull, who is available to answer questions about U.S. regulations affecting textiles and textile products. As a subscriber, quick answers to your questions will be just a phone call or email away. David has represented U.S. textile interests in trade and development policies at negotiations and conferences throughout North America, Western Europe, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. He was appointed, in 2007, to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Textile and Clothing ("ITAC 13") by Ambassador Susan C. Schwab and Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. Re-appointed, in 2010, to ITAC 13 by Ambassador Ronald Kirk and Secretary Gary Locke.

The cost of this service is just $2,500 per year. Subscribers joining mid-year will have their subscription cost pro-rated.

Already, even before this public announcement, Agathon Associates has signed by subscribers in the wool textile, knitted textile, and man-made fiber yarn sectors of the industry.

For more information, or to sign up, call David at 617-237-6008.

Reminder: Comments Due June 16th in Response to Best Chair Upholstery FTZ Application

As Agathon Associates reported May 20th, Best Chair has submitted a request that would allow them to import duty-free certain foreign micro-denier suede upholstery fabrics finished with hot caustic soda and certain polyurethane upholstery fabrics. Comments are due a week from today, Monday, June 16th.

Applicant for Medical Bandage FTZ Re-Files, Asserts AFMA, NCTO, USIFI "Have no understanding of quality requirements

Today the Foreign Trade Zone Board reopened the comment period, through July 9, 2014, for the Foreign Trade Zone application from ASO, LLC, relating to certain woven fabrics of cotton, polyester, and cotton/polyester blend used in the production of medical bandages. The Board's action is in response to ASO's May 14, 2014, submission, attacking the credibility of joint comments in opposition submitted by the American Fiber Manufacturers Association, National Council of Textile Organizations, and the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute. The ASO submission also questions the ability of the sole U.S. manufacturer to respond to actually produce the fabrics ASO needs.

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor service may read more, including the original submissions from the interested parties, by CLICK HERE. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Preserving CAFTA-DR Benefits a Consideration in TPP Talks Say Pres. Obama

In an April 1, 2014 letter to Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic, U.S. President Barack Obama stated:
"Thank you for your letter concerning our ongoing negotiations toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. I appreciate your concern about the possible impoct of the TPP apparel provisions on our Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) partners.

"Our CAFTA-DR agreement is important to all of our countries. Our respective textile and apparel industries share a long history of coproduction and partnership agreements that have been mutually beneficial. The United States team of TPP negotiators recognizes the unique nature of the CAFTA-DR in regional economic integration. They are also mindful of the degree to which U.S. suppliers are integrated with producers in the Dominican Republic.

"I have instructed my negotiating team to factor these considerations into the U.S. approach in the TPP negotiations. Since our meeting in Costa Rica in May 2013, United States Trade Representative officials have held extensive meetings with all the ambassadors of CAFTA-DR partner countries on this topic; the Department of State and my National Security Council staff have also met with your Ambassador to discus this topic.

"We will continue to keep your concerns in mind as we move forward."

President Obama's letter, which was made public last week by the government of the Dominican Republic, was in response to President Medina's letter of November 2013, in which he asked the government of the United States to consider maintaining in the Trans-Pacific Treaty of Economic Association (TPP) the integrity of the rule of origin for textile products and apparel because to the contrary, it would bring negative consequences for the textile industry of the signatory countries of the Free Trade Accord (DR-CAFTA).

Kim Glas Steps Down from OTEXA Post

David Trumbull with Kim Glas, 2010, at a meeting of Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
According to an article in WWD, Kim Glas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles, Apparel and Consumer Goods will step down from that post June 6 to become the executive vice president of the BlueGreen Alliance in Washington, a national partnership of 14 unions and environmental organizations advocating for renewable energy; energy efficiency, and safer, cleaner chemicals, among other issues, to create a "clean economy."

Since her appointment August 24, 2009, Kim has been a strong advocate within the Department of Commerce for the domestic U.S. textile industry.

President's Export Council to Meet June 19th

SUMMARY: The President's Export Council will hold a meeting June 19th to deliberate on recommendations related to promoting the expansion of U.S. exports. Topics may include: Trade promotion authority; localization barriers to trade; reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; trade facilitation; access to capital; technology-enabled small business exporters; innovation; the National Travel and Tourism Strategy; and the National Export Initiative. The public is invited to submit written statements to the President's Export Council by C.O.B. June 17, 2014.

The President's Export Council was first established by Executive Order on December 20, 1973 to advise the President on matters relating to U.S. export trade and to report to the President on its activities and recommendations for expanding U.S. exports. The President's Export Council was renewed most recently by Executive Order 13652 of September 30, 2013, for the two-year period ending September 30, 2015. This Committee is established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.

FTC Published Wool Rule Amendments Effective July 7th

On June 4, 2014, the FTC published in the Federal Register (79 FR 32157) Rules and Regulations Under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939; Final rule.

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor service may view an annotated version of the announced changes by CLICKING HERE and scrolling down to the link "Revised Rules Effective July 7,2014 (Annotated by Agathon Associates)." You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at The document contains the full text of the FTC Federal Register notice in the left column with running commentary in the form of explanatory notes by David Trumbull in the right column.

Berry Interesting: DoD Procurement, What's Covered; What's Not.

The Berry Amendment, which mandates domestic sourcing for nearly all U.S. Department of Defense procurement of textiles and clothing, is the subject of my latest guest column in the BeaverLake6 Report It's a good concise primer for companies who are thinking of government contracting and also for those US companies considering providing for Foreign Military Sales through the US Department of Defense. Read the column at

First Patents

What was the first patent?  Since its beginnings, the United States has issued three patents with claims to being the first patent. 

The first legal patent was issued in 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for an improvement in making potash and pearl ash.  Potash and pearl ash were early industrial alkalis that were used in making soaps, glass, bleaching fabric and the manufacture of gunpowder.  At the time potash was an impure form of potassium bicarbonate and was manufactured by burning hardwood and then mixing the ashes with water to leech out the alkali.  This water was then boiled off to generate a black corrosive tar.  Today, you can see the same process in action in old charcoal grills:  when the charcoal gets wet it creates a corrosive effect that eventually eats through the grill.  Hopkins innovation was to burn the ashes a second time in a furnace before leeching the residual in water.  This second burning increased carbonate formation which increased the yield of the process.

The original patent document, now known as X1, was signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  While Canada did not exist as a country at the time, the process is considered Canada’s first “patent” because the Quebec parliament authorized a “reward” to Hopkins for his discovery.

In 1836, Congress passed a law reorganizing the patent office.  Under the new system, patents were no longer issued by name and date but by an assigned patent number.  Patent Number 1: “Locomotive steam-engine for rail and other roads” was issued to Senator John Ruggles on July 13th, 1836.  Senator Ruggles, a Jacksonian Democrat from Maine, was Chairman of the Patents and Patent Office Committee and eventually became known as the “Father” of the Patent Office. 

Senator Ruggles’ invention was for a cog and gearing system that improved the traction of train wheels.  The patent has been cited several times since its issue, most recently in February 2013.

During the Civil War, the Confederate States of America also maintained a patent office in Richmond Virginia that issued 266 patents.  While the records and models were destroyed in the war, it is known that their first patent was issued in August 1861 for a breech loading gun.

Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Reinforcing element for a glove, and glove, in particular a goal keeper's glove having such a reinforcing element:  A reinforced glove, especially for a goal keeper's glove, which is designed to allow bending in one direction.  The reinforcement comprises two bending elements which extend in a longitudinal direction of a finger with  blocking elements to prevent bending in the opposite direction.  Patent #:  8646112.  Inventor:  Nix and Schwartz.  Assignee:  Puma SE.

Sports glove having improved wrist strap: A protective sports glove with adjustable dual strapping wrist tie system to secure the gloves to the contour of the hands and ensure they remain tight and fixed. The dual strapping system seeks to provide increased wrist and hand rigidity that mirrors a tightness of hand wrap bandages for maximal bone and tendon support of the hands and wrists. This system increases the transfer of force to the point of impact.  Patent:  8646113.  Inventor:  Clement,  Assignee:  Hayabusa Fightwear Inc.

System and apparatus for the prevention of the use of certain interventions on vulnerable patients:  A system and apparatus of coded gowns to alert health care workers of the status of vulnerable patients and where on the patient's body the vulnerable portions are located. The use of color-coded gowns follows the patient on his or her person and is therefore less likely to be lost or unseen information, thereby avoiding physical calamity and legal liability.  Patent #:  8646114.  Inventor:  Williams.  Not Assigned. 

Versatile glove:  A glove with zippered (or other) access to the index finger and thumb.  This allows the fingers easy access to touchscreen devices when glove is worn.  Patent #: 8646115.  Inventor:  Baunach.  Not Assigned.

Ballistic resistant groin protector:  A ballistic groin protector with a groin panel and a deployable groin wrap. The groin panel can be suspended from clothing or equipment to protect a wearer's anterior pelvic region from ballistic impact. Patent #:  8646116.  Inventor:  Crye,  Assignee:  Lineweight, Llc.

Sole assembly for article of footwear exhibiting posture-dependent characteristics:  A shoe with a sole that allows for an insert.  The insert can be used to provide posture and position feedback to the wearer during training sessions.  Patent #:8646191.  Inventor:  Amos,  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Tufting machine for creating a cut pile carpet with two different pile heights:  A tufting machine for creating a cut pile carpet with two different pile heights.  The arrangement insures ensures that the lower hook does not contact the knife once the cutting edge of the knife has passed the lower hook.  This allows the cut angle of the two pile heights to be the same.  Patent #:  8646396.  Inventor:  Shanley. Assignee:  Spencer Wright Industries, Inc.

Garment for providing body shaping:  A garment for providing body shaping. In one embodiment, a slip-shaped body garment uses support bands to provide support in various areas of the body while maintaining an overall smooth and desirable body shape.  Patent #:  8647168.  Inventor:  Anvirapour. Not Assigned.

Backless, strapless bra and attachable breast form enhancement system:  A bra cup or breast form including an interior surface facing toward a user's breast and having at least one thin ridge of pressure sensitive adhesive, for securing the bra cup or breast form to the user's breast, and at least one ventilation pathway on the interior surface. The bra cup or breast form may be used in a backless, strapless bra or breast form system.  Patent #: 8647169.  Inventor:  Chang.  Assignee:  Bragel International.

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

USDA Announces Modification of Regulations of National Sheep Industry Improvement Center

On June 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") Agricultural Marketing Service ("AMS") published in the Federal Register (79 FR 31843) National Sheep Industry Improvement Center; Interim rule and request for comments.

As provided under 2014 Farm Bill, the AMS is amending the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center regulations at 7 CFR Part 63. This interim rule redesignates (1) the statutory authority from section 375 (7 U.S.C. 2008j) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621-1627), (2) amends the definition of the Act under section 63.1 consistent with the redesignated statutory authority, and (3) amends the regulations by increasing the administrative cap for the use of the funds from 3 percent to 10 percent.

DATES: Effective Date: This interim rule is effective June 4, 2014. Comment Date: Written comments on the regulatory provisions of this interim rule must be received by July 3, 2014.

Monday, June 2, 2014

CBP Publishes List of Entities that May be Able to Claim "Byrd Amendment" Payments

On June 2, 2014, U.S Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") published in the Federal Register (79 FR 31413) Distribution of Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset to Affected Domestic Producers.

To obtain a distribution of the offset under a given order or finding, an affected domestic producer (and anyone alleging eligibility to receive a distribution) must submit a certification for each order or finding under which a distribution is sought, to CBP, indicating their desire to receive a distribution. To be eligible to obtain a distribution, certifications must be received by CBP no later than August 1, 2014. All certifications not received by August 1, 2014 will not be eligible to receive a distribution.

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor may learn more about the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset, commonly called the "Byrd Amendment," by CLICKING HERE and scrolling down to the link "Revised Rules Effective Mid-2014 (Annotated by Agathon Associates)." You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at