ITC Section 337 Investigations
Choosing the right law firm to defend your business in a fast-paced, high stakes, legally and technically complex investigation before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is critical. Read on to find out why companies choose Sterne Kessler to work with them on ITC matters.
Your intellectual property is the lifeblood of your business.
Consider this scenario - you are doing business in the United States and have a patent, formula, or design that provides you with a unique competitive advantage. But with the expansive growth in emerging markets, the blurring of international trade barriers, and the explosion of digital communications, you are seeing intellectual property infringement by overseas competitors and your market share dwindle. What can you do?
More and more, companies faced with this type of scenario turn to the ITC. The ITC is a forum for resolving intellectual property disputes involving unfair competition in the import trade—including allegations of patent or trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of antitrust laws. To view the growing trend of ITC investigations conducted over time, click on the graph below.
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The ITC is a unique legal forum demanding special legal insights.
The ITC conducts its investigation pursuant to 19 U.S.C. §1337 (commonly referred to as Section 337). These administrative due process proceedings take, on average, between 15 to 18 months, and allow all parties to engage in full discovery. A hearing on the merits usually occurs within 7 to 9 months after an investigation is instituted. If the ITC determines Section 337 has been violated, the remedies available include an ITC order to the U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement to exclude the infringing articles from entry into the U.S., and cease and desist orders that require the violating party to stop selling any infringing articles already imported into the U.S.
The pace is fast. The stakes are high.
Section 337 investigations are complex - requiring a unique blend of litigation, administrative law, patent law and technical skills - and proceed at a very fast pace. Any adverse outcome can have serious and immediate consequences for commercial manufacturers, importers, and retailers of accused products. Because of the fast track nature of the proceedings, the complex issues involved in the accused technology, and the need to follow precise rules established by the ITC, there is little, if any, room for error. That is why you need a legal partner with the specialized experience and insight required to handle the unique rigors and requirements of such an investigation - a partner like Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox.
- We know the ITC process. We have successfully represented both complainants and respondents in more than 40 Section 337 matters involving well-known international companies. This depth of knowledge and experience gives us strategic and tactical insights that enable us to win 337 investigations.
- The deepest technical knowledge in IP. Most Sterne Kessler professionals hold an advanced level degree, including 50+ PhDs in science and engineering and many more have significant industry experience. Our technical backgrounds enable us to get through detailed technical analysis to get up to speed on the technology at issue very quickly.
- Close proximity to the ITC. Being in Washington, D.C. makes for greater cost and logistical efficiencies, which are especially critical in this kind of “fast track” litigation and helps us to remain current and expand our knowledge base.
- Fluent in more than 20 languages. This includes many key Asian languages spoken by parties often before the ITC.