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Federal Circuit Limits the International Trade Commissions Ability to Exclude Downstream Products of Non-Parties

November 04, 2008

By Michael D. Bednarek and Darrell N. Fuller

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has ruled that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has limited statutory authority to prevent non-parties from importing downstream products into the United States. See, Kyocera et al. v. Intl Trade Commn, No. 2007-1493 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 14, 2008).

The ITC is a favorite forum in certain industry sectors because it offers a powerful injunction against importation of infringing products regardless of who imports or how the products were imported. In the consumer electronics sector, for example, computer and television products typically contain components from many different suppliers integrated into a single unit the so-called downstream product. Until now, the ITCs injunctions frequently prevented the importation of both the infringing product by itself and downstream products that contained the infringing product.