In today’s fast-paced and technology-centered economy, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has become a forum of choice for IP rights holders looking for speed and certainty. So-called 337 investigations are quick, complex and challenging, requiring highly skilled attorneys who can bring to bear a combination of litigation excellence and technical knowledge of the ITC’s unique procedural framework. Ropes & Gray’s ITC litigators have the experience and reputation to offer clients the best counsel on 337 investigations.
The ITC and Section 337
The ITC is a quasi-judicial federal agency in Washington, D.C. with broad investigative powers on matters of trade. Among other responsibilities, the ITC conducts Section 337 investigations concerning imports that allegedly infringe IP rights, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, or other unfair methods of competition and unfair acts. Under Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930, articles found to violate Section 337 can be excluded from further importation and the responsible parties can be subject to cease and desist orders.
Experienced, Highly Regarded Advocates
As many firms race to develop ITC practices, prospective clients often want to know what sets Ropes & Gray apart. Several factors distinguish our ITC capabilities:
- Leading ITC Experience. From pre-suit diligence through hearing, review, appeal and post-exclusion Customs work, our ITC practice actively represents major clients every step of the way. Our practice includes first-chair ITC trial lawyers, nationally ranked in publications including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, IAM Patent 1000 and Legal 500.
- A Legacy of IP Excellence. Ropes & Gray can leverage the talent of over 150 IP professionals with a broad array of technical skills and knowledge. These individuals are the best and the brightest in the IP community, received the Chambers Award for Excellence in 2010 (and were named a finalist for this distinction again in 2011), and have won some of the most storied victories in patent history.
- A Global IP Presence. With experienced IP litigators resident in our Tokyo and Seoul offices and global IP support, we are ideally positioned to manage the international aspects of 337 investigations efficiently and cost-effectively.
In the last several years, Ropes & Gray has been involved in some of the most high-profile investigations at the ITC:
- Certain Electric Skin Care Devices, Brushes and Chargers Therefor, and Kits Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-959 – Ropes & Gray currently represents Michael Todd True Organics (maker of Soniclear®) in an investigation involving three patents and trade dress claims brought by competitor Pacific Bioscience Laboratories.
- Certain Laser Abraded Denim Garments, Inv. No. 337-TA-930. We currently represent a major consumer retailer in an investigation involving six patents generally directed to methods of using a laser to scribe a material such as fabric.
- Certain Devices Containing Non-Volatile Memory and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-922; Certain Non-Volatile Memory Chips and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-916; Certain Non-Volatile Memory Devices and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-909; Certain Flash Memory Chips and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-893. We represented Spansion (and several of its customers) adverse to Macronix in four investigations relating to patents directed to features and fabrication of FLASH memory devices. Following trials in two of the investigations, the global dispute was successfully settled before a decision was reached.
- Certain Television Sets, Television Receivers, Television Tuners, and Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-910. We represented a major electronics company in an investigation involving two patents concerning technology relating to analog or digital television signal receivers and won summary determination of no infringement of either patent.
- Certain Products Having Laminated Packaging, Laminated Packaging, and Components Thereof, No. 337-TA-874. We represented Diageo in the first investigation of the ITC’s pilot program for possible early disposition of cases. Following an accelerated trial on the economic prong of domestic industry, the Commission found that the complainant failed to satisfy the economic prong and terminated the investigation.
- Certain Wireless Devices with 3G and/or 4G Capabilities and Components Thereof, No. 337-TA-868 – We represented a major electronics company that was a respondent in this investigation relating to seven patents concerning 3G and 4G capable devices. Based largely on the defenses developed by Ropes & Gray for two of three asserted patents at trial, ALJ Essex issued an opinion finding no violation. Just ten days before ALJ Essex issued his opinion, Ropes & Gray obtained a favorable settlement for our client, ending all litigation.
Certain Gaming and Entertainment Consoles, No. 337-TA-752. We represent Motorola adverse to Microsoft in an investigation relating to five patents directed to wireless networking and digital video processing features of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system. Following a January 2012 trial, the ALJ issued an initial determination that section 337 was violated due to infringement of four of the five patents and recommended that Xbox systems be excluded from further importation. Our representation of Motorola in the ITC is part of our work on Motorola’s behalf in over a dozen pending disputes between Motorola and Microsoft in various jurisdictions around the world.
- Certain Wireless Communication System Server Software, Wireless Handheld Devices and Battery Packs, No. 337-TA-706. We represented Motorola adverse to Research in Motion (RIM) in an investigation relating to five patents directed to features of RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Our representation of Motorola in the ITC brought a rapid and successful conclusion to a three-year global dispute between Motorola and RIM.
- Certain Digital Televisions, No. 337-TA-617. We represented Polaroid in a successfully concluded ITC investigation brought by Funai, relating to two patents directed to signal processing in digital televisions.