Over the past decade, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has emerged as a critical and much-relied-upon tool for those facing patent infringement allegations. Some say that’s exactly what Congress intended with the America Invents Act—a defendant can file a validity challenge at the PTAB and get an expedited ruling on invalidity in a forum with specialized technical expertise and before judges with relevant technical backgrounds, at a lower cost than litigating validity issues in district court. And in fact, district courts will often stay infringement actions pending PTAB review of a patent at issue in a particular case.But the district courts and the PTAB are not the only fora in which patent issues are adjudicated. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC)—an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency based in Washington, DC—has become a forum of choice for patent owners seeking fast and effective relief for patent infringement.Play Episode
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency based in Washington, DC tasked with a variety of trade-related responsibilities. Perhaps most notably, the ITC is responsible for enforcing Section 337 of the Tariff Act, a trade statute designed to protect American industries from injuries caused by the importation of goods connected to unfair acts. The large majority of these so-called “Section 337 investigations” have focused on allegations of patent infringement, but the ITC can adjudicate disputes involving trademark infringement, copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and even false advertising or antitrust claims.Play Episode
Ropes & Gray’s podcast series Talkin’ Trade explores the world of Section 337 unfair import investigations at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Section 337 actions can provide valuable leverage for a company in a dispute with a foreign competitor, but we have found that many businesses and practitioners are either blissfully unaware of what these proceedings are or have only just vaguely heard about the ITC. Each episode will be hosted by Ropes & Gray IP litigator Matt Rizzolo and features a different aspect of ITC proceedings, sometimes discussing recent ITC-related current events or news.