Federal Circuit Holds That the ITC Has Jurisdiction over Foreign Trade Secret Theft in Section 337 Investigations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”)’s determination that it had jurisdiction to ban the importation of products made using processes protected by trade secrets, even where the misappropriation took place entirely outside of the United States. See TianRui Group Co. Ltd. v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, No. 2010-1395 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 11, 2011). In a split decision, the panel also ruled that the Commission should apply uniform federal law in Section 337 investigations when choice of law questions present themselves, such as in trade secret cases. The TianRui decision appears to open the door wider to complainants seeking a trade remedy against imported goods enriched by intellectual property theft abroad, provided that these complainants’ domestic industry is injured by the misappropriation.

The Foreign Misappropriation at Issue in TianRui and the Commission’s Determination

Amsted Industries, the Complainant in the underlying Section 337 investigation (Certain Cast Steel Railway Wheels, Certain Processes for Manufacturing or Relating to Same and Certain Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-655), is an American corporation that manufactures cast steel railway wheels using a process protected by trade secrets. TianRui, the Respondent in the underlying Section 337 investigation, is a Chinese company that had unsuccessfully attempted to enter into a license agreement with Amsted to acquire a trade secret process for manufacturing railway wheels. Failing to obtain a license to Amsted’s trade secrets, TianRui hired nine former employees of an Amsted licensee in China. These nine employees knew of Amsted’s confidential manufacturing process and had signed confidentiality agreements agreeing to keep the process secret. Yet, shortly after these employees’ arrival at TianRui, TianRui began manufacturing cast steel railway wheels using Amsted’s secret process.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.