Liown Electronics said a federal appellate court ruling this month against a rival Twin Cities distributor of a similar "flameless candle" product frees Liown to resume sales of its Moving Flame candle in the United States.
Luminara Worldwide of Eden Prairie claims that Liown, a China-based maker and distributor, stole its flameless candle technology and has been taking sales and market share.
In May, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson placed a temporary injunction against Liown and several U.S. suppliers that prevented sales of Liown's flameless candle. Luminara charged in a 2014 lawsuit that its one-time partner Liown stole its patented flameless technology.
Liown CEO Johnny Yang said in a statement that the appellate court, which has yet to issue a written opinion, "validates what we have argued all along, that a preliminary injunction was never appropriate."
Courtland Merrill, an attorney for Luminara, said he expects a trial date to be set for late 2016. The companies have engaged in on-and-off litigation since 2012, after a 2010 manufacturing-and-distribution agreement fell apart, and later, a short-lived settlement of the 2012 suit.
Liown has estimated that the U.S. market among several competitors' flameless candle products approaches $500 million.
Neal St. Anthony