March 14, 2016 Articles

Tariff Act Section 337: USITC as a Fast and Effective Forum

The commission deserves a hard look by practitoners seeking a national remedy for unfair acts and deceptive trade practices.

By Jonathan J. Engler

The past few decades have seen an expansion in the number of U.S. states with unfair acts and deceptive trade practice (UDAP) statutes, modeled on the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act). UDAP statutes are intended to protect consumers and businesses from a broad array of predatory, unscrupulous, and deceptive business practices. As is well known, these statutes vary widely in their effectiveness and scope. State UDAP statutes differ from the FTC Act in that they provide for a private cause of action but suffer from a lack of national enforcement power. Also, enforcement can be a problem if the unfair acts occurred out of state, even if the consequences are suffered at home. Consequently, although many, if not most, unfair trade practices have a nexus to interstate and international commerce, individuals and companies harmed by unfair trade practices sometimes struggle to obtain meaningful relief.

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