The ITC provides several key advantages over the federal courts, including a highly accelerated procedure for investigating complaints and powerful remedies in the form of exclusion orders that are not available in federal courts.
Known as “Section 337” investigations, these proceedings typically involve intellectual property rights, including allegations that imported goods have infringed patents (including utility and design patents) and trademarks (whether registered or common law). Companies can also assert other forms of unfair competition involving imported products, including antitrust claims.
The primary Section 337 remedy is an exclusion order that directs US Customs and Border Protection to block infringing imports from entering the United States. Companies may also seek cease-and-desist orders barring the sale of infringing products already imported, as well as expedited relief through temporary exclusion orders and cease-and-desist orders.
The Mayer Brown Advantage
Companies litigating Section 337 disputes need a law firm with lawyers who have extensive experience in Section 337 investigations and are schooled in international trade disputes. These companies need a law firm with a deep bench of seasoned IP litigators and an international footprint. Mayer Brown offers precisely these capabilities, and is recognized as one of the leading firms to represent litigants before the ITC.
We have represented complainants, respondents and interested third parties in Section 337 investigations. These proceedings have included telecommunications carriers as well as manufacturers of fiber-optic communication systems, nutritional supplements, high intensity sweeteners, toner cartridges, computer forensic devices, dental positioning adjustment devices, acetic acid, personal computers, medical devices, ground fault circuit interrupters, tissue, automobile parts and laminate flooring. Our patent lawyers provide valuable experience and technical knowledge in numerous fields, including medical device technologies, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemistry, life sciences, electrical and mechanical engineering, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, and related manufacturing processes. In addition, we have successfully defended our clients against claims of patent, trademark and copyright infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, trade secret misappropriation and antitrust violations.
Developing a “Best Practices” Response
With our depth of experience in Section 337 investigations, Mayer Brown attorneys are thoroughly familiar with the players and the procedures involved in these proceedings. We provide effective counsel, whether to complainants or respondents, and guide our clients through every step of the process. Section 337 investigations typically reach a final decision within 16 months. Mayer Brown attorneys are there from the start and know how best to marshal the necessary facts, witnesses and documents within this expedited time-frame. We determine, no later than 60 days before the hearing, whether to request a summary determination; participate actively in the trial before the administrative law judge; make public interest, remedy and other submissions during the ITC’s review following the initial determination; lobby relevant government agencies during the Presidential review phrase; and appeal, when necessary, to the Federal Circuit.
But Mayer Brown does more than just manage the complexity of the Section 337 process. We develop a “best practices” response that is designed to secure the most positive outcome at the ITC. Our ultimate goal is to resolve disputes in the manner best suited to a client’s particular needs: this can include reaching settlements, when appropriate, via licensing arrangements, joint ventures, mergers and other means. This business-focused perspective typifies Mayer Brown’s approach to IP counseling. We help leverage IP assets and develop options that maximize clients’ flexibility, protect investments, increase market share and strengthen competitive advantages.
Achieving Precedent-Setting Results
Mayer Brown patent litigators have won precedent-setting cases before the US Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and at the ITC. Highlights include Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc. (a significant victory for all patent holders, in which the Supreme Court ruled that in all cases involving a tying arrangement, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has significant market power in the tying product), and Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinozoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co. (in which the Supreme Court redefined and clarified the “doctrine of equivalents”).
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