The trade agency is an attractive venue for trade secret litigation because it has the power to block accused imports even if the alleged misappropriation of the asserted trade secret occurred entirely in another country where the parties were not subject to U.S. law.
As with other cases brought by licensing companies, Touch-Controlled Mobile Devices has nothing to do with preventing unfair import competition or stopping shady foreign infringers.
The ITC is supposed to adjudicate trade disputes, but patent complaints from NPEs are not trade disputes. They are licensing disputes that can and should be resolved in court.
We'll never get to see the Commission's analysis of the public interest factors in Mobile Electronic Devices, which would have provided much-needed guidance on how to apply the test in future cases.
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.
A look at the ITC's docket in 2018 shows how Section 337’s domestic industry requirement regularly fails to fulfill its legislative purpose.