International_Technology_Trade_Wars_Nov_08

International_Technology_Trade_Wars_Nov_08 - International...

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International Technology Trade Wars Defending Patented Electrical Technology at the International Trade Commission By Tyson Winarski and Adam Hess of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP In today’s high-tech marketplace, research,  development, and manufacturing alone are insufficient to successfully commercialize technology.  Legal protection that  establishes a proprietary product and thwarts competitors is essential to both short and long term market success.  Patents  are the primary means by which companies establish legal rights to a technology (essentially granting the owner a limited  monopoly).  When competitors infringe those patents, patent owners have conventionally gone to Federal District Court to  seek out damages and injunctive relief for patent infringement.  However, when foreign imports are the source of patent  infringement, patent owners can and should look outside the box and seek to enforce their patent rights in front of the  International Trade Commission (“ITC”).  Pursuant to Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1337), the ITC has the  authority to redress unfair trade practices caused by imports into the United States, such as those  caused by patent, copyright, and trademark  infringement. 
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The volume of electrical imports into the United States is surging.  Electrical and Electronics imports, broadly classified  under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule HTS2 Class 85, amounted to 227 billion dollars in 2006, a 10.4 percent increase over  2005.  In 2007, these imports amounted to 250 billion dollars, a further 9.2 percent increase over 2006. 1   How many products  out of those 250 billion dollars worth of foreign imports are infringing a U.S. Patent? The domestic Electrical and Electronics Industry has relied heavily on the ITC for relief from infringement of U.S. patents  by foreign imports.  Over the past decade, the ITC has received 195 complaints requesting the institution of investigations  pursuant to Section 337 alleging patent infringement as the underlying unfair act.  Of these 195 complaints, 89 alleged  infringement of electrical and electronics-based patents.   SEMICONDUCTORS Area of Technology Total Number of ITC Investigations Processors/Chips 13 Memory 12 Optoelectronics 6 Programmable Logic 2 Fabrication Processes 2 Indeed, over 46 percent of all complaints received by the ITC over the past decade for patent infringement concern  electrical technologies.  The remaining 54 percent involved pharmaceutical, mechanical, and chemical technologies. 2
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International_Technology_Trade_Wars_Nov_08 - International...

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