Issue 34 | October 21, 2002
"Certain Compact Disc and DVD Holders"
Instituted on October 16, 2002
 The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on October 16 that it has instituted the Section 337 Investigation on "Certain Compact Disc and DVD Holders." A copy of the announcement is available on the Internet at http://www.usitc.gov/er/nl2002/ER1016z2.htm.

The named Respondents are Viva Magnetics Limited, Matrix Associates Inc., Finest Industrial Co. Ltd, Ponica Industries Corp., Carthuplas Inc., Scanaovo Ltd., Wah-de Electron Co. Ltd., and Dragon Star Magnetics Limited. The investigation has been designated as number 337-TA-482 and assigned to the Honorable Sidney Harris. The Commission will now formally begin the investigation by serving the each of the Respondents with a copy of the Complaint and a formal Notice by postal mail. Responses to the Complaint from will be due within about 30 days after the Notice is mailed by the Commission. Failure to respond may result in a named Respondents' goods being summarily excluded from entry into the United States.

The Commission's rules require the Response to include a detailed description of any defenses, as well as information on the volume and value of the products that are being imported into the United States. While it is possible to protect the confidentiality of at least some of this business information by properly identifying the confidential portions when filing the Response, only outside attorneys will be allowed to see any information that has been designated as confidential. A typical "Protective Order" by Judge Harris for protecting confidential business information is available here.

The "discovery" period for producing and collecting other relevant information is likely to last only about four to five months. During that time, the parties will likely be required to produce documents and answer written "interrogatories" posed by the other parties, including the Investigative Staff. Witnesses will also have to be prepared for, and provide, oral "deposition" testimony. Numerous motions are also likely to be briefed and decided during the discovery period. A typical "Scheduling Order" by Judge Harris is available here.

The trial in this case will likely be scheduled to begin about five to six months after institution in Washington, D.C. and will probably last about a week. The independent Administrative Law Judge will then issue an "Initial Determination" on the merits of the case within about one to two months after completion of the trial. However, there are a variety of ways to resolve some, or all, of the main legal issues before going to a trial.

The political appointees to the Commission will make a final decision on whether to accept, reject, or modify the Initial Determination about one year after the case has begun. Remedial orders by the Commission are then sent to the President who may disapprove them for policy reasons. However, such disapprovals are very rare and decisions of the Commission may also be appealed to the federal courts.

This message is being provide as a public service of the APLF. Visit the Section 337 sign up page and sign up for the new no charge APLF public service program with notifications concerning new requests for investigations of "Intellectual Property Infringement and other Unfair Practices in Import Trade" before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

For more information, the Association of Patent Law Firms ("APLF") offers a web seminar on "Unfair Import Investigations before the ITC" at http://www.aplf.org/events/roundtables/2002-06-20.shtml. The ITC also offers a publication entitled "Section 337 Investigations at the U.S. International Trade Commission: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions," which is available on the Internet at ftp://ftp.usitc.gov/pub/reports/studies/PUB3516.PDF.

To discuss this topic further, please contact the author, Bill Heinze, at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley. The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.