ITC Commissioner F. Scott Kieff to leave International Trade Commission

ITC Commissioner F. Scott Kieff has publicly announced that he will be leaving the International Trade Commission and returning to his academic posts as a Professor at George Washington University Law School and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Kieff’s last day at the ITC will be June 30, 2017.

Kieff, a Republican, was sworn in on Friday, October 18, 2013, as a Commissioner of the ITC. Nominated by President Barack H. Obama, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2013, for a term that would have expired on June 16, 2020.

Before being sworn in, Kieff took a leave of absence from his post as a Professor at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, which he joined as a faculty member in the summer of 2009. Also before being sworn in at the ITC, Kieff resigned his roles at the Stanford University Hoover Institution, where he was the Ray & Louise Knowles Senior Fellow. Kieff will resume roles at George Washington University Law School and at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution effective July 1, 2017.

Before entering academia, Kieff practiced law for over six years as a trial lawyer and patent lawyer for Pennie & Edmonds in New York and Jenner & Block in Chicago and also served as a Law Clerk to Judge Giles S. Rich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After entering academia, he regularly served as a testifying and consulting expert, mediator, and arbitrator to law firms, businesses, government agencies, and courts.

Kieff’s research, teaching, practical experience has always focused on the law, economics, and politics of innovation, including entrepreneurship, corporate governance, finance, economic development, trade, intellectual property, antitrust, bankruptcy, medical ethics, technology policy, and health policy. Kieff was recognized as one of the nation’s “Top 50 under 45” by the magazine IP Law & Business in May, 2008, and was inducted as a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in March 2012.

Originally from the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago, Kieff became a lawyer in New York City and now lives with his family in Washington, DC. Before attending law school at the University of Pennsylvania, he studied molecular biology and microeconomics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted research in molecular genetics at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA.

Nintendo Prevails at ITC in Wii Case

WiiOn Sept. 12, 2013, Nintendo won a patent infringement case brought at the International Trade Commission by Creative Kingdoms. The commission found that Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U systems do not infringe Creative Kingdoms’ patents. The commission also found that Creative Kingdoms’ patents are invalid.

On April 27, 2011, the Commission instituted the investigation based on a complaint filed by Creative Kingdoms, LLC of Wakefield, Rhode Island and New Kingdoms, LLC of Nehalem, Oregon. The complaint alleged violations of Section 337 by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,500,917 (“the ‘917 patent”), 7,896,742 (“the ‘742 patent”), 7,850,527 (“the ‘527 patent”), and 6,761,637 (the ‘637 patent). The ‘637 patent was subsequently terminated from the investigation. On August 31, 2012, the ALJ issued a final Initial Determination (ID) finding no violation of section 337 by Nintendo.

The ALJ found that the accused products infringe sole asserted claim 24 of the ‘742 patent, but that the claim is invalid for failing to satisfy the enablement requirement and the written description requirement under 35 U.S.C. § 112. The ALJ found that no accused products infringe the asserted claims of the ‘917 patent and the ‘527 patent. The ALJ also found that the asserted claims of the ‘917 and ‘527 patents are invalid for failing to satisfy the enablement requirement and the written description requirement. The ALJ concluded that complainant has failed to show that a domestic industry exists in the United States that exploits the asserted patents as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(2). The ALJ did not make a finding regarding the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement with respect to the asserted patents. The ALJ also did not making a finding with respect to anticipation and obviousness of the asserted patents.

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CAFC Upholds ITC Exclusion Order in Rule 36 Judgment

man_controlling_trade

“Man Controlling Trade” outside the ITC in DC, by NY sculptor Michael Lantz (1942).

The United States Court of Appeals recently issued a Rule 36 Summary Affirmance of the April 27, 2012 Final Determination of the International Trade Commission (hereinafter “Commission” or “ITC”) in In the Matter of Certain Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and Products Containing Same. A Rule 36 judgment can be entered without an opinion when it is determined by the panel that any one of five conditions exist and a written opinion would not have precedential value.  See What is a Rule 36 Judgment?  The Federal Circuit judgment affirmed the Commission’s general exclusion order, “prohibiting the unlicensed importation of infringing ground fault circuit interrupters and products containing same,” inhibiting infringement on Leviton Manufacturing’s U.S. Patent No. 7,737,809.

The Commission instituted this particular investigation on October 8, 2010, based on a complaint and an amended complaint filed by Leviton Manufacturing Co., of Melville, New York (“Leviton”). The complaint and amended complaint alleged violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1337), in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain ground fault circuit interrupters and products containing the same by reason of infringement of claims 1-7, 9-11, 13-17, 23-26, and 32-36 of U.S. Patent No. 7,463,124 (“the ’124 patent”); claims 1-11, 13-28, 30-59, 61-64, and 74-83 of U.S. Patent No. 7,737,809 (“the ’809 patent”); and claims 1-4 and 8 of U.S. Patent No. 7,764,151 (“the ’151 patent”).

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Unwired Planet Foregoes ITC Complaint Against Apple, RIM

On October 15, Unwired Planet (Nasdaq: UPIP) announced that it was abandoning the pending International Trade Commission (ITC)  investigation it initiated against Apple and Research-in-Motion. According to the company’s announcement, on Thursday, October 11, 2012, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Gildea declined to stay the pending investigation despite a joint motion filed by all of the parties.

It seems that Unwired Planet came out on the short end of a claim construction order, which dealt a fatal blow to the company’s infringement assertions.  According to the company, “the ALJ made an unfavorable, and in our view, erroneous construction of a set of closely-related terms – the mobile device terms – in three of our patents.  The error was that the ALJ limited the invention of the patents to mobile devices that do not contain a ‘computer module.'”

Thus, rather than go through with a trial, Unwired Planet decided to throw in the towel in favor of its pending case in the Federal District Court of Delaware, which was initially filed in August 2011 and has been conducted in parallel with the ITC investigation.  This federal district court proceeding deals with the same patents and, according to Unwired Planet, will provide the opportunity to seek different claim construction in the federal court.

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Patent Law Institute Live Blog: Litigating in the International Trade Commission

The Patent Law Institute live blog continues with the panel entitled, “Litigating in the International Trade Commission”. This panel features Asim Bhansali, Partner at Keker & Van Nest LLP. Asim’s discussion focuses on the increasing popularity of the ITC forum for domestic and foreign litigants and the remedies the ITC provides. Asim also discusses parallel district court litigation. Here are some of the highlights (more…)