Section 337 is a trade remedy that exists on top of the remedies available under the patent law, and it is not only acceptable but desirable for the ITC to limit exclusion orders that could harm other interests, whether that's life saving medical research or general economic welfare.
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 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.
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.
The Commission has received over a dozen third-party submissions commenting on a wide range of public interest issues. Some of the comments were a bit over the top.