INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TAILWINDS CONTINUE TO FAVOR SECTION 337 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION

Section 337 intellectual property enforcement actions before the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) continue to gain in popularity. The ITC has long been a popular forum for private parties seeking to enforce their intellectual property rights and stop the importation of infringing goods into the United States.  It is easy to see why.  The ITC is particularly well-known for fast proceedings. Most investigations are concluded within a year while a good many are completed in even less time.  The ITC is also utilized because of its powerful exclusion order relief.  Products found to infringe intellectual property rights are excluded from entry into the United States.  The ITC also permits broad discovery of accused infringers and is quick to level sanctions on any party that refuses to cooperate. Recent legal developments are raising the popularity of ITC actions further. In a case of first impression, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin recently ruled that findings by the ITC in trade secret misappropriation claims enjoy preclusive effect in parallel District Court litigation.  See generally Manitowoc Cranes LLC v. Sany America Inc., 2017 WL 6327551 (E.D. Wisc. 2017). While this has long been known for other types of enforcement actions, such as trademark infringement, clear legal authority now exists for the first time in the area of trade secret misappropriation.  The broad scope of discovery available to Complainants...

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