March 28, 2014 Articles

Inside Trade-Secret Investigations at the U.S. International Trade Commission

A look at the requirements and advantages of pursuing a misappropriation claim at the ITC

By P. Andrew Riley

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) gained its notoriety as a litigation forum largely from its patent-infringement docket. Indeed, one study found 85 percent of the investigations at the ITC involve allegations of patent infringement. Colleen V. Chien, "Patently Protectionist? An Empirical Analysis of Patent Cases at the International Trade Commission," 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 63, 70 (2008). Yet, its statutory mandate goes beyond patents. Section 1337 of Title 19 (section 337) authorizes the ITC to investigate allegations of infringement of statutory intellectual-property rights—such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks—as well as other "unfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the importation of articles." 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(1)(A).  

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