Woodcock Washburn’s litigation expertise includes investigations before the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), a specialized venue able to assist with the resolution of global intellectual property disputes brought under Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act. The majority of actions before the ITC are patent infringement matters with the ITC providing a forum to potentially stop the importation of infringing goods into the United States. Woodcock Washburn has the experience and capabilities to assist parties on both sides of the equation – helping to exclude unlawfully imported goods, as well as to preserve the rights of entities to import their products into the United States.
ITC actions are unique. The ITC has its own set of rules and procedures and the cases typically move at a very fast pace. The ITC’s jurisdiction is in rem, meaning it has jurisdiction over the actual goods imported into the country. Accordingly, the ITC can provide a venue to reach the activities of foreign companies that may not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts in the U.S. All ITC cases also include the involvement of attorneys from the ITC’s Office of Unfair Import Investigations. The staff attorneys from OUII represent the public interest in an ITC investigation and are an active participant in every stage of the case.
The available remedies are also unique in the ITC. Although money damages are not available, and are usually sought in a co-pending district court litigation, the potential remedies at the ITC include the grant of an exclusion order – a directive to U.S. Customs officials to exclude the infringing goods from importation into the country. A cease-and-desist order is also an available remedy which may direct a respondent in an ITC action to cease its unfair activities, including the selling of infringing goods currently in U.S. inventory.
Woodcock Washburn stands ready to assist clients through the challenges and nuances faced in an ITC action. Among our ranks are numerous attorneys who have tried cases before the ITC, as well as a former intern from the ITC’s Office of Unfair Import Investigations. With our trial and ITC experience, as well as our technical expertise, the Woodcock Washburn team can be a valuable asset to a client involved in an ITC proceeding.