337 Litigation

U.S. International Trade Commission Investigations & Litigation


Susan B. Flohr

Section 337 Investigations in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)

Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930 governs unfair acts involving goods imported into the United States. In a typical Section 337 patent infringement investigation an action is brought by a U.S. patent holder against foreign-manufactured goods. The complainant must prove that it has a domestic injury with respect to the patent in order to be entitled to relief. While the ITC’s jurisdiction is over the products themselves, foreign manufacturers and the domestic importers and sales companies are often joined as respondents in the investigation.

Section 337 is a powerful remedy for U.S. intellectual property rights holders who are confronted with infringing imports as well as for companies facing unfair competition involving imported goods. A successful Section 337 action delivers a unique remedy not available in any federal or state court: the U.S. Customs Service can exclude infringing goods from importation into the United States. Section 337 is a fearsome problem for the foreign manufacturers as they risk losing their ability to sell their products in the United States. It also affects American importers and sellers, whose supply of goods may be curtailed.

For more than three decades, Blank Rome’s 337 trade and IP litigators have successfully represented both complainants and respondents in Section 337 investigations. Starting with the landmark Copper Rod case in the late ‘70s, and continuing to the present, Blank Rome’s attorneys have handled some of the most complex and far-reaching Section 337 cases ever brought before the ITC. From electronics, to manufacturing processes, to consumer products, these cases have spanned a wide range of industries and technologies. Blank Rome’s unique combination of international trade specialists and IP litigators have given the firm a distinct advantage in representing its clients in Section 337 cases before the ITC.

Summary of ITC Cases Handled by Blank Rome Attorneys

  • Apparatus for the Continuous Production of Copper Rod, 337-TA-52
  • Headboxes and Papermaking Machine Forming Sections for the Continuous Production of Paper and Components Thereof, 337-TA-82
  • Apparatus for the Continuous Production of Copper Rod, 337-TA-89
  • Drill Point Screws for Drywall Construction, 337-TA-116
  • Personal Computers and Components Thereof, 337-TA-140
  • Papermaking Machine Forming Sections for the Continuous Production of Paper and Components Thereof, 337-TA-147
  • Liquid Crystal Display Watches with Rocker Switches, 337-TA-155
  • Cardiac Pacemakers and Components Thereof, 337-TA-162
  • Softballs and Polyurethane Cores Thereof, 337-TA-190
  • Compound Action Metal Cutting Snips and Components Thereof, 337-TA-197
  • Ceramic Drainage Foils, 337-TA-216
  • Multi-Level Touch Control Lighting Switches, 337-TA-225
  • Insulated Security Chests, 337-TA-244
  • Xenon Lamp Dissolver Slide Projectors and Components Thereof, 337-TA-246
  • Certain Mail Extraction Desks and Components Thereof, 337-TA-264
  • Certain Buoyant Metallized Balloons, 337-TA-271
  •  Certain Track Lighting System Components Including Plugboxes, 337-TA-286
  • Certain Concealed Cabinet Hinges, 337-TA-289
  • Certain Insulated Security Chests, 337-TA-244
  • Certain Sputtered Carbon Coated Computer Disks and Products. Including Disk Drives, 337-TA-350
  • Certain Flooring Products, 337-TA-443
  • Certain Hydraulic Excavators, 337-TA-582