US ITC begins pilot to speed up disposal of patent cases

The trade agency has found that it can speed up by focusing on the dispositive issues

The U.S. International Trade Commission has launched a pilot program to test whether early rulings on identified crucial issues in some investigations could limit unnecessary litigation, saving time and costs for all sides.

One such "dispositive" issue, though not the only one, could be the existence of a domestic industry for a product, which often comes up later in the investigation.

Complainants should also be prepared to prove their case without extensive discovery on the issues, the ITC said Monday.

The move comes in the wake of concerns about unnecessary and sometimes frivolous patent disputes by "patent assertion entities," popularly known as patent trolls, whose main business is to collect licensing fees and damages from technology companies.

The administration of President Barack Obama issued earlier this month five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations designed "to protect innovators from frivolous litigation." Among the legislative recommendations was the need to change the ITC standard for obtaining an injunction.

Technology companies like Google's Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics have also approached the ITC to keep competitors' products out of the U.S. market.

Section 337 investigations conducted by the ITC under the Tariff Act of 1930 most often involve claims regarding intellectual property rights, including allegations of patent and trademark infringements by imported goods, and can lead to the ban on their imports into the U.S.

Noting that the majority of complaints filed under section 337 involve patent infringement allegations, the ITC said that under the pilot program, the commission "will identify, at institution, investigations that are likely to present a potentially dispositive issue."

An administrative law judge will be assigned to rule on that issue early in the investigation through expedited fact-finding and a shortened hearing limited to the identified issue.

The initial ruling on whether a domestic industry exists or is in the process of being established in the U.S. has typically come relatively late in an investigation, often after several months of litigation, including an evidentiary hearing, when the ALJ issues his initial determination on whether there is a violation of section 337. The pilot program aims to reduce the time for an initial ruling to 100 days, with a limited extension for good cause.

The pilot program is not limited to the issue of domestic industry, which was only provided as an example of how the pilot will work, ITC said. The pilot procedure may be made permanent after evaluation, and will currently be used for certain designated investigations, it added.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. International Trade Commissionintellectual propertylegalpatent

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?