When companies invest in technologies that evolve rapidly, they often need equally quick resolution of disputes.
Increasingly more and more intellectual property lawsuits are landing in the United States International Trade Commission, rather than in Federal district court. Why? Because of faster judgments (12.8 months two to three years); better outcomes (92 percent of complaints are found in violation of patent infringement and/or unfair trade practices); and the ability to sue multiple respondents across the globe in a single forum.
Inside Counsel recently sat down with Ajay Mago, who headed up Culhane Meadows’ litigation on the NEXTT case. He discussed this new venue that more IP lawyers are using because of the USITC's broadpowers to ban imports and seize goods that infringe patents or engage in unfair trade acts.
When companies invest in technologies that evolve rapidly, they often need equally quick resolution of disputes, according to Mago. The USITC’s broad powers to levy remedies and its speedier process can, when used appropriately, lead to quicker resolution of disputes and, ultimately, better outcomes for companies seeking to monetize their IP.
“In a global economy in which infringers are often located in multiple jurisdictions outside of the U.S., a patent enforcement strategy that relies solely on the federal district court system can be cumbersome, costly, and limited in its efficacy,” he explained. “Through the ITC, we can stop the importation of infringing products at the border.”
So, why exactly are more IP lawyers using this venue?
Simply, Mago says, it is about managing one’s IP spend and achieving the desired results. While going before the ITC can be costly, litigating against multiple infringers across several jurisdictions and venues can be even more expensive and result in additional enforcement costs across the global even after prevailing on the merits of one’s case.
“I expect to see the number of ITC investigations likely to double over the next five years. More and more U.S. companies across all industries are going to continue to innovate by increasing their investments in new technologies and the related IP,” he said.
Additionally, supply chains will continue to become increasingly global in nature, which means that the likelihood of infringement occurring outside of the U.S. will continue to rise, per Mago. This means that the ITC will continue to play an instrumental role in ensuring that companies who invest in technology and play by the rules will have the recourse they need to protect and grow their businesses.
All in all, the recent decision has major implications for U.S. trade. In general, it shows recognition of the ITC’s role in resolving disputes against multiple companies across a wide geography in a single forum. In addition, it shows that companies who invest in technology and are committed to delivering products with integrity to the end consumer can protect investments against infringement and other unlawful activities, even when those activities occur beyond U.S. borders.