Have you ever seen the counterfeit handbags being sold that imitate expensive name brands? Have you ever seen a foreign product being sold in a store that looks suspiciously similar in style and packaging to a product made on U.S. soil? These products are likely illegal, and they could give rise to an international trademark dispute.
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) plays a key role in protecting American industries when it comes to these types of problems. The USITC is a federal agency charged with investigative responsibilities pertaining to trade. The USITC researches how various imports affect domestically-based industries. It also carries out global safeguard investigations. The commission also decides cases regarding trade and trademark infringement by international imports.
As it carries out both investigatory and judiciary duties, the USITC is known as a “quasijudicial” organization. Through its judicial proceedings and investigatory actions, the agency enforces international trading rules. The USITC also serves the president, the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Congress in helping to inform U.S. trade policy. The Commission offers its information publicly as well in its efforts to educate the American people regarding international trade concerns.
Essentially, the commission has a three-fold mission: to enforce United States trade remedy statutes; to provide independent analysis to the president, USTR and Congress; and to manage the Harmonized Trade Schedule (HTS) of the United States.
If your company has been injured financially due to another organization or company’s efforts to infringe upon your trademark or intellectual property rights, the law may be on your side. Be sure to learn as much as you can about the USITC and international trademark strategies that could be available to you under federal law.