With the solar panel market already shaken by protectionist trade barriers, the ITC has received a high number of public interest comments filed by non-parties concerned about a new Section 337 investigation and the broad harm an exclusion order would cause to the solar industry.
After the ITC called for early disposition of the domestic industry question in Taurine (Inv. 1146), the patent holder withdrew its complaint. The episode shows how the early disposition program is helping to reduce the ITC's disruptive impact on the U.S. patent system by weeding out some duplicative Section 337 cases that have no patent or trade policy rationale.
The ITC’s patent powers do not exist so foreign licensing companies can bypass courts and extract settlements through the threat of trade action against American products. But that’s just what’s happening in Data Transmission Devices (Inv. 1150).
After a pair of decisions yesterday, the Commission will get to put off taking a stand on the public interest in the Qualcomm–Apple dispute at least until July 26. And they may manage avoid to the issue altogether.
Congress wanted Section 337 to be utilized on behalf of U.S. industries involved in trade disputes, but the ITC often adjudicates patent licensing disputes that have nothing to do with cross-border trade and issues remedies against domestic industries.
The complainant in the Taurine investigation is an independent inventor who has not yet found anyone willing to license his patent. The ITC has granted a request from respondents to conduct early disposition proceedings on whether his unsuccessful licensing activity satisfies the domestic industry requirement.
Arguments about how to apply the public interest factors in Mobile Electronic Devices (Inv. 1065) aren’t just about iPhones or 5G or national security. They’re also part of a larger debate over the proper role of injunctive relief as a remedy for patent infringement.