When making their case against alleged infringers, patent-holders have two options in the US legal system: filing a case in federal court, or petitioning for an investigation at the International Trade Commission (ITC).
The ITC can’t award money damages, but cases there can result in an “exclusion order” banning an imported product from US shelves. It became an increasingly popular venue for high-tech cases in recent years, and several rounds of the smartphone patent battles were fought there. ITC filings are often accompanied by a district court case over the same patents, so monetary damages can be pursued as well.
But a year-end look at ITC statistics shows that it’s becoming less popular. The ITC initiated 39 so-called Section 337 investigations last year, which cover intellectual property claims. That’s down from 42 the previous year, and a record-setting 69 investigations in 2011, notes the National Law Journal.
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