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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has become a key forum for high-stakes global intellectual property disputes. The cases move fast and the remedy is powerful. There is little room for learning on the job.

Drawing on our leading patent litigation, international trade, and government relations practices, Covington provides effective guidance, through integrated international IP counseling, litigation, and enforcement, for the resolution of business critical issues before the ITC.

Our collective experience is critical in the setting of fast-paced, high-stakes litigation—where discovery lasts only a few months and the case is brought to trial in eight to 10 months. Covington’s ITC-focused team, which has appeared in over 90 Section 337 cases spanning nearly 30 years, includes lawyers with experience inside some of the key government agencies involved in Section 337 cases. Our team includes:

  • a former Chairman and Commissioner of the ITC;
  • former lawyers from the crucial regulatory and enforcement authorities, including the ITC Office of General Counsel, and the ITC Office of Unfair Import Investigation (OUII), which participates in many 337 investigations; and
  • a former senior official from the Office of United States Trade Representative, which reviews all ITC exclusion orders.

Combined with the strengths of the broader practice, which includes one of Asia’s leading intellectual property and Section 337 lawyers, Ruixue Ran, and more than 60 lawyers firm-wide with significant experience in this area, we have the depth necessary to staff even the most challenging cases.

Section 337 cases are distinguished not only based on their speed and powerful remedies, but also on the fact that a far greater share of them go to trial than is the case for patent cases in the district courts. Our ITC case teams recognize this from the inception of our engagement—counsel with years of experience inside the ITC’s courtrooms and before its Administrative Law Judges develop litigation strategy at the earliest stages.

In addition to our track record of successfully litigating original investigations before the ITC, our lawyers routinely remain involved after an order issues, and have significant practical experience working with customs departments and the ITC to properly implement and enforce both limited and general exclusion orders.

Our lawyers also have significant experience assisting companies that may be confronted with an exclusion order, including companies that may have been represented by different counsel during the course of an ITC investigation, to ensure that any business impact after the ITC case ends is minimized to the greatest extent possible. Our knowledge of the nuances of real-world enforcement from both the complainant and the respondent’s perspective translates directly into increased efficiency in preparation and case management, more effective results-focused litigation strategy, and better business outcomes at the border after an exclusion order issues.

  • The National Law Journal, 2019 Washington “Litigation Department of the Year” winner (2019)
  • The American Lawyer, 2018 California "Litigation Department of the Year" winner (2018)
  • Am Law Litigation Daily, Sturgis Sobin, Derek Ludwin, and James O'Connell, “Litigators of the Week“ (11/18/2016) 
  • Managing Intellectual Property - Recognized in the North American category as the "International Trade Commission Firm of the Year" (2010, 2014)
  • The American Lawyer, "2014 Litigation Department of the Year" Finalist (2014)
  • Chambers USA - Recognized as a leading National Intellectual Property Practice and a leading International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) Practice (2009-2019)
  • Chambers Global - Recognized as a leading US International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (2010-2019) and US Intellectual Property Practice (2010-2018)
  • Chambers Global - Six attorneys recognized for Intellectual Property (2016-2018)
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific - Recognized as a leader in the category South Korea: Intellectual Property; two attorneys recognized for Intellectual Property (2016-2019)
  • Chambers USA's - America's Leading Business Lawyers - Three attorneys recognized for Intellectual Property (2015-2019), three attorneys recognized for International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (2010-2019)
  • Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Magazine - Recognized in the “IAM Patent 1000 - The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners” for its National International Trade Commission practice, three attorneys recognized in National - International Trade Commission
  • The Best Lawyers in America - Eight attorneys recognized for Intellectual Property Law (2007-2019)
  • Daily Journal - One attorney recognized among the Top IP Litigators in California (2016)
  • The National Law Journal - Recognized on the Intellectual Property Hot List (2016)
  • Chambers Europe - Recognized as a leader in the category: Belgium, Intellectual Property and one attorney recognized for Intellectual Property (2013)
  • Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Intellectual Property (Foreign Firms) (2013)
  • Legal 500 US - Recognized as a leading US practice in the areas of Patent Litigation: International Trade Commission and Patent Litigation: Full Coverage (2012-2017)
  • Legal 500 UK - Recognized in its IP category (2011-2014)
  • Two of our partners are Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and one was elected a Vice Chair of the Complex Litigation Committee.
  • One of our attorneys is a Past President of the ITC Trial Lawyers Association, the leading bar association for ITC practitioners.