Monday, April 18, 2016

Interesting IPKat Blog Post on U.S. Hearings on the ITC

Yesterday the IPKat Blog published a very interesting post on Thursday's hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives' Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee on a bill that might make it somewhat more difficult for nonpracticing entities to proceed with investigations before the International Trade Commission (ITC).  (For readers who aren't familiar with the ITC, it's a federal agency that can investigate and adjudicate complaints involving allegedly infringing imports into the United States.  A majority of ITC investigations run parallel with patent infringement litigation in U.S. district courts; but unlike the district courts the ITC is not bound by the eBay decision, and a form of injunctive relief known as an exclusion order is the remedy the ITC usually enters with respect to infringing merchandise.)  The post has links to the various witness statements--including one filed by Professor Fiona Scott Morton asserting that "the availability of exclusion orders from the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) in cases in which an injunction would not be granted by Federal courts runs contrary to the public interest by allowing patent assertion entities (“PAEs”) to forum-shop and earn supracompetitive royalties"--and to the video of the entire proceeding (which I have not watched yet).  According to the author of the post, the subcommittee seems to favor reining in the ITC, perhaps beyond the limited steps contemplated by the draft bill that was the ostensible subject of the hearing.  For what it's worth, my own view is that the U.S. probably could do without this parallel forum for adjudicating IP disputes, as discussed here.  

Though not related to patent remedies, IPKat also has an interesting post on a recent article arguing that employee noncompete agreements inhibit innovation, which makes for an interesting compare-and-contrast with a recent paper by Barnett and Sichelman that Professor Michael Risch recently discussed on the Written Description Blog.

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