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IPR Enforcement: Steel Products, Foam Footwear

Friday, December 23, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Steel Products. The International Trade Commission has determined to review an initial determination of the presiding administrative law judge in the intellectual property infringement investigation of certain carbon and alloy steel products from China that granted the respondents' motion to terminate the complainant’s antitrust claim. The ITC is seeking input by Jan. 17 on a range of matters related to the investigation (reply submissions are due by Feb. 1) and has set March 14 as the date for possible oral argument.

The ITC launched investigation 337-TA-1002 earlier this year to determine whether imports of certain carbon and alloy steel products from China are violating section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act through (1) a conspiracy to fix prices and control output and export volumes, (2) the misappropriation and use of trade secrets owned by complainant U.S. Steel Corporation, and (3) the false designation of origin or manufacturer to circumvent tariffs. U.S. Steel has requested that after this investigation the ITC issue exclusion orders, which would prohibit infringing imports from entering the U.S., and cease and desist orders, which among other things would prevent the sale of infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory. The notice of investigation identified 40 respondents that are Chinese steel manufacturers or distributors, as well as some of their Hong Kong and U.S. affiliates.

Foam Footwear. The ITC has decided to adopt the report prepared by the Office of Unfair Import Investigations as its advisory opinion in the section 337 probe of certain foam footwear. The report concludes that certain women’s footwear is not covered by the general exclusion order and the cease and desist order issued in the underlying investigation.

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