Litigating at the ITC: caught in a grey zone

By Leo M Loughlin and Davide F Schiavetti

Despite its advantages, the average number of investigations instituted before the US International Trade Commission has almost halved since 2011. The agency now faces two significant obstacles to becoming a more prominent trademark litigation forum

Last year the International Trade Commission (ITC) celebrated its centennial. For almost 100 years, Section 337 of the Tariff Act 1930 has allowed domestic manufacturers to enforce their IP rights against infringing imports before the ITC – an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency comprising six commissioners who oversee five administrative law judges. The US president can veto remedial orders issued by the ITC for policy reasons within a 60-day presidential review period. In 2005 the president delegated this authority to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The ITC’s goal is to regulate the effect of imports on US industries and curtail unfair trade practices, including trademark and patent infringement pursuant to 19 US Code §1337.

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Issue 74