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USITC Notices

Scheduling of Final Phase of AD Injury Investigation of Residential Washers
The USITC has scheduled the final phase of its AD injury investigation of large residential washers from mainland China. The pre-hearing staff report will be placed in the non-public record on 22 November and a public version will be issued thereafter; requests to appear at the hearing must be submitted by 29 November; pre-hearing briefs are due by 30 November; the pre-hearing conference will take place on 1 December; the hearing will be held on 7 December; and post-hearing briefs are due by 14 December.

IPR Infringement Probe of Steel Products Resumed
The USITC has resumed an intellectual property infringement investigation that represents the domestic steel industry’s latest effort to use U.S. trade laws to stem what it sees as a flood of unfairly priced imports from mainland China. The USITC launched this investigation earlier this year to determine whether imports of carbon and alloy steel products from the mainland are violating section 337 of the 1930 Tariff Act through (i) a conspiracy to fix prices and control output and export volumes, (ii) the misappropriation and use of trade secrets owned by complainant U.S. Steel Corporation, and (iii) the false designation of origin or manufacturer to circumvent tariffs. U.S. Steel has requested that after this investigation the USITC issue exclusion orders, which would prohibit infringing imports from entering the United States, and cease and desist orders, which among other things would prevent the sale of infringing imported articles out of U.S. inventory.

The investigation was suspended by the presiding administrative law judge in July to allow the USITC to provide statutorily required notice to the DOC, given that the USITC investigation comes at least in part within the purview of the AD and CV duty laws overseen by the DOC and due to the pendency of proceedings before that agency (at least two of which were subsequently identified by the DOC). However, following a petition from U.S. Steel, the USITC has determined to vacate the suspension and remand the investigation back to the ALJ for further proceedings. No immediate rationale for the change was given but the USITC said an explanation will be forthcoming.

New Section 337 Investigation on Quartz Slabs
The USITC has initiated a Section 337 investigation of certain quartz slabs and portions thereof from mainland China and Vietnam. The complainant alleges that the respondents are infringing certain U.S. patents and is requesting the USITC to issue a general exclusion order (or, alternately, a limited exclusion order) as well as cease and desist orders.

IPR Import Restrictions Considered for LED Products
In a patent infringement investigation of light-emitting diode products and components thereof from mainland China and another location, the presiding ALJ has recommended that if the USITC finds a violation of Section 337 it should issue a limited exclusion order directed against certain infringing goods imported by five specified respondents and a cease and desist order directed against one respondent. The USITC is now soliciting comments through 6 September on whether the issuance of such orders would affect the public health and welfare in the U.S., competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the U.S., or U.S. consumers.

In particular, the USITC is interested in comments that: (i) explain how the articles potentially subject to the orders are used in the U.S.; (ii) identify any public health, safety or welfare concerns in the U.S. relating to the recommended orders; (iii) indicate the extent to which like or directly competitive articles are produced in the U.S. or are otherwise available in the U.S. with respect to the articles potentially subject to the recommended orders; (iv) indicate whether the complainant, its licencees and/or third-party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested orders within a commercially reasonable time; and (v) explain how the recommended orders would impact U.S. consumers.

Remedy Comments Sought in Section 337 Probe of Computer Products
In a trademark infringement investigation of certain computer cables, chargers, adapters, peripheral devices and packaging containing the same from mainland China, the USITC has found all respondents in default. The USITC may order relief against respondents found in default unless it finds after considering the public interest that such relief should not issue. The USITC sought input through 18 August on the form of remedy, if any, that should be ordered; the effects of any such remedy on public health and welfare in the U.S., competitive conditions in the U.S. economy, U.S. production of like or directly competitive articles, or U.S. consumers; and the amount of the bond under which infringing articles could continue to enter the U.S. during the 60-day period the president has to review any USITC-ordered remedy. The complainant in this case is seeking a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

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