The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) offers a limited alternative forum for trademark owners seeking to block infringing products from entry into the United States. When trademark owners file cases in the ITC naming multiple respondent. This is unfamiliar territory to most respondents. In his article “What to expect if you are sued in the ITC,” published in the Oxford Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Managing Partner James Fedalen addresses what to expect when one is named as an ITC respondent, as well as the next steps to take.
Given its accelerated time frame from investigation to resolution, as well as the effect of its remedies, the ITC can be an effective alternative or complement to a district court action. However, given the costs and requirements involved, it is far more likely for a company to find itself as a respondent in an ITC proceeding than the one initiating it; and smaller companies may be hard pressed to continue their defense.