Internal Trade Commission (ITC),
Section 337 Investigations
Section 337 investigations conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) most often involve claims regarding intellectual property rights, including allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods. Both utility and design patents, as well as registered and common law trademarks, may be asserted in these investigations. Other forms of unfair competition involving imported products, such as infringement of registered copyrights, mask works or boat hull designs, misappropriation of trade secrets or trade dress, passing off and false advertising, may also be asserted. Additionally, antitrust claims relating to imported goods may be asserted.
The primary remedy available in Section 337 investigations is an exclusion order that directs U.S. Customs & Border Protection to stop infringing imports from entering the United States. In addition, the Commission may issue cease and desist orders against named importers and other persons engaged in unfair acts that violate Section 337. Expedited relief in the form of temporary exclusion orders and temporary cease and desist orders may also be available in certain exceptional circumstances.
Section 337 investigations, which are conducted pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1337 and the Administrative Procedure Act, include trial proceedings before administrative law judges and review by the Commission. With its expedited schedule, the ITC resolves intellectual property disputes involving imported goods quickly and forcefully.
Nixon & Vanderhye can provide representation in Section 337 ITC proceedings involving products in a wide variety of technical fields. Our attorneys leverage their vast experience in technology, intellectual property law and litigation to provide an effective team for representing complainants or respondents in Section 337 investigations. Nixon & Vanderhye is often called upon by our clients to handle or assist with the most complex patent-related issues arising in litigations and other adversarial proceedings, such as 337 investigations. Nixon & Vanderhye attorneys have the knowledge and experience to navigate the ITC’s unique rules and procedures and help our clients achieve successful results in high-stakes intellectual property disputes involving imported goods.
Attorneys have successfully acted as lead counsel on technical and patent law issues in several 337 investigations. The firm has also assisted other firms in representing clients in ITC proceedings.
- Recently, Nixon & Vanderhye represented Sharp against Samsung in four separate ITC proceedings involving liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. In these proceedings, Nixon & Vanderhye successfully defended Sharp against allegations of infringement of three LCD patents owned by Samsung.
- Nixon & Vanderhye obtained findings of infringement by Samsung of four LCD patents owned by Sharp, resulting in what is believed to be the largest value exclusion order ever issued by the ITC.
- The firm assisted in defending Nintendo in the ITC against allegation of infringement by the Wii videogame system.
Nixon & Vanderhye provides its clients with a competitive edge that is critical when facing high-stakes ITC proceedings. This competitive edge results from several unique factors. For example, many of our attorneys have decades of experience in both patent prosecution and litigation, creating a synergy that benefits both practices. Many of our attorneys also have advanced technical degrees and/or work experience in high-tech industries. In addition, we have a very talented in-house trial graphics team that has proven to be incredibly valuable to our clients in ITC and District Court proceedings. Nixon & Vanderhye also staffs litigations with experienced litigators and, unlike many firms, avoids using litigation matters as training for inexperienced attorneys at the expense of our clients. Nixon & Vanderhye also employs a team approach with other quality law firms on cases where there is a benefit to having two firms involved in handling large complex matters for our clients.
If you are interested in legal representation or would like more information, please contact one of our attorneys or call us at 1-703-816-4000.