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Assessing Bias in Patent Infringement Cases: A Review of International Trade Commission Decisions

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  • Hahn, Robert W.

Abstract

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has gained importance in recent years because of its increasingly powerful role in adjudicating patent disputes. That little-known independent agency has the authority to bar importation of articles found to infringe a valid U.S. patent by issuing exclusion orders. The Commission is now potentially the patent tribunal of first instance for electronic products and other products manufactured overseas. This paper examines possible biases in ITC decision making in favor of patent holders from both a positive and a normative perspective and offers suggestions for improving the efficiency of the ITC process for adjudicating complaints based on patent infringement. I provide the most comprehensive economic analysis to date of cases that arise under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. In particular, this is the first paper to compare the ITC decision-making process in patent disputes with the district courts in a systematic way. After empirically demonstrating a likely bias in decision making at the ITC, the paper provides specific remedies that could improve the efficiency of the patent dispute process.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 365.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:365

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  1. Wendy L. Hansen & Thomas J. Prusa, 1996. "The Economics and Politics of Trade Policy: An Empirical Analysis of ITC Decision Making," Departmental Working Papers 199621, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Benjamin Liebman, 2004. "ITC voting behavior on sunset reviews," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 446-475, September.
  3. Robert Baldwin & Jeffrey Steagall, 1994. "An analysis of ITC decisions in antidumping, countervailing duty and safeguard cases," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 290-308, June.
  4. Aoki, Reiko & Prusa, Thomas J., 1993. "International standards for intellectual property protection and R & D incentives," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 251-273, November.
  5. Moore, Michael O, 1992. "Rules or Politics? An Empirical Analysis of ITC Anti-dumping Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 449-66, July.
  6. Catherine Y. Co, 2004. "How Valuable are the Patents Behind Section 337 Cases?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 525-539, 04.
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