Have 'public interest factors' finally come of age at the USITC?


Carl Charneski

The US International Trade Commission has been giving more weight to public interest factors in recent times, as Carl Charneski explains.

Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, empowers the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate unfair trade practices such as unfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the importation of articles, as well as patent, copyright, trademark, and mask work infringement, where the infringing products are imported into the US.

In the course of its investigations, the ITC takes into account ‘public interest factors’. This is done both at the beginning and the end of an investigation. Until recently, public interest factors received little attention. Certainly there have been times when they took centre stage and stole the spotlight, but overall, they just didn’t seem to be important at the ITC—at least, not consistently.

Today, that is no longer the case and public interest factors have grown hugely in relevance.

USITC, public interest, section 337, Tariff Act