Background - Practices (Details)

U.S. International Trade Commission Section 337
Unfair Import Investigations

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is an expedited forum for the resolution of disputes involving allegedly unfair imports, particularly those alleged to infringe intellectual property rights. Relief at the ITC is as swift as it is severe: Section 337 investigations typically go to full trial in 10 months, conclude within 16 months; they can result in the exclusion of broad swaths of products from entry into the United States by U.S. Customs, and the cessation of sales of previously imported goods.

Section 337 litigation presents a number of unique challenges stemming from the intersection of two complex and highly focused areas of law: intellectual property and international trade. Crowell & Moring's unique combination of IP and international trade experience, coupled with our extensive litigation capabilities, means that we have the resources needed to successfully represent clients in all aspects of a Section 337 investigation:

  • The deep IP bench needed for complex technology and branding issues involved in Section 337 investigations;
  • Proficiency in U.S. customs law and post-remedy administrative procedures;
  • Extensive appellate experience, including ITC appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
  • Experience in ITC enforcement actions, advisory opinions, and modification proceedings; and
  • Unmatched experience in the presentation of public interest issues before the various federal agencies involved in the review of ITC orders

Accolades for Crowell & Moring and our ITC Section 337 practice include selection as a “2020 International Trade Group of the Year” by Law360, and a “Most Feared Law Firm in Litigation,” by BTI Consulting Group in 2020. We draw teams from three Chambers-ranked, ITC-synergistic practice areas: Trade, Intellectual Property, and Advertising/Litigation—the latter practice particularly key as trademark, trade secret, and other non-patent claims rise at the ITC.

Representative Engagements

  • Certain Synthetic Roofing Underlayment Products (337-TA-1202): Represented DuPont in a patent infringement investigation related to synthetic roof underlayment products. Won dispositive claim construction for DuPont and co-Respondents, which lead the patentee to withdraw its complaint and terminate the investigation before trial, resulting in total victory for DuPont. 
  • Certain Carburetors (337-TA-1123): Represented Lowe’s, MTD, and a premier outdoor equipment maker in a patent infringement and importation investigation as to carburetors involving 26 downstream equipment- and retailer-customers. Won termination early-on by consent order for two respondent clients based on complainant’s stipulation of non-infringement, and summary determination on the eve-of-trial for our third client.
  • Certain RF Microneedles (337-TA-1112): Represented Lumenis Ltd. and Pollogen Ltd. in a patent infringement investigation related to radio frequency skin treatment devices. Lead defense trial attorney at hearing where ALJ tentatively ruled the asserted patent was invalid.  Entered favorable settlement with no exclusion after hearing.
  • Certain Vehicular Smart Watch Systems (337-TA-3093): Defended General Motors and OnStar in multi-forum litigation resulting in complainant's swift voluntary withdrawal of Section 337 allegations pre-institution.
  • Certain Baseband Processor Chips (337-TA-543): Represented Intervenor Sprint Nextel Corp. in an investigation brought by Broadcom against Qualcomm related to baseband processor chips used in wireless handsets before Chief Judge Bullock. Lead counsel during the remedy phase, the Presidential Review Period, before the IP Branch of U.S. Customs, and during the enforcement action. Obtained a stay of the limited exclusion order and won the appeal to the Federal Circuit, resulting in the seminal Kyocera Wireless Corp., et al., v. Int'l Trade Comm'n decision.  

Click here for a full list of Section 337 Representative Engagements.