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United States International Trade Commission: Section 337

The United States International Trade Commission has the power to conduct "Section 337 investigations." These investigations relate to alleged intellectual property rights violations. For example, perhaps an imported product or good infringes upon another company's or individual's trademark or patent. The International Trade Commission would conduct a Section 337 investigation to look into the matter.

Section 337 investigations cover alleged infringement made by imported goods on:

  • Utility and design patents
  • Registered and common law trademarks
  • Infringement of registered copyrights
  • Mask works and/or boat hull designs
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets and/or trade dress
  • Passing off
  • False advertising
  • Antitrust claims pertaining to imported goods

If a Section 337 investigation deems that infringement has indeed occurred, the law provides various remedies. The first remedy relates to an exclusion order issued to U.S. Customs that prevents the infringing products from entering the country. The International Trade Commission may also send out a cease and desist order to companies and persons who have been importing the goods in violation of Section 337. Finally, if haste is deemed appropriate, the International Trade Commission may award expedited relief through temporary exclusion orders and/or temporary cease and desist orders.

The U.S. International Trade Commission pursues all Section 337 investigations under 19 U.S.C. ยง 1337 and the Administrative Procedure Act. If you feel that your intellectual property rights -- trademark, patent or copyright -- are being violated, a California intellectual property rights attorney can assist you in evaluating your legal rights and options. Through diligent and dogged advocate individuals and organizations can protect the intellectual property they worked so hard to own the rights to.

Source: U.S. International Trade Commission, "About Section 337," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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