There are 20 respondents in the investigation, including Gap Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch

There are 20 respondents in the investigation, including Gap Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has said it will proceed with the launch of an investigation into a patent infringement complaint regarding certain laser abraded denim garments.

The complaint was filed on behalf of RevoLaze and TechnoLines on 18 August, and alleges that laser abrasion process technology violates one or more of their patents.

The complainants have requested the ITC issue a general exclusion order, or a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders.

There are 20 respondents in the investigation, including Gap Inc, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Levi Strauss & Co.

Earlier this month, however, retailers and fashion businesses joined forces to call on the ITC to abandon the investigation.

In an open letter, they pointed out that while the complainant is targeting laser abrasion technology used by rival firms Jeanologia/GFT and Easy Laser, it has instead taken action against importers who are "merely purchasers of finished apparel products and therefore...not directly responsible for any of the violations being claimed".

The ITC said it has not yet made a decision on the merits of the case, and it has been assigned to one of its administrative law judges, who will schedule an evidentiary hearing.

The Commission said it will make a final decision on the investigation "at the earliest practicable time".