Selecting a forum: ITC versus district court


Carl C. Charneski

The International Trade Commission is a popular forum for companies looking to deal with patent infringement. Carl Charneski, former administrative law judge at the ITC, takes a look at the best approach.

Q. Sometimes patentees have the option of bringing an infringement challenge in either the ITC or district court. What strategies would you recommend patentees consider in evaluating where to bring an action?

A. Whether you choose to proceed at the International Trade Commission (ITC) or district court generally will depend on consideration of two factors: (1) the remedy that you need in order to resolve your infringement problem; and (2) how fast you need relief. That said, the ITC is a particularly attractive forum because it provides complainants with the opportunity to obtain, with great speed and efficiency, exclusion orders prohibiting the importation of infringing products into the United States.

In that regard, the ITC has the authority under the Tariff Act of 1930 to issue limited exclusion orders (LEOs) and general exclusion orders (GEOs) that are enforced by US Customs and Border Protection. LEOs are directed only to the named respondents’ infringing products.

ITC, patent infringement