March Meeting: Trade Secrets and the International Trade Commission

On March 10, 2015, CincyIP welcomes P. Andrew Riley and Jonathan R.K. Stroud, Patent Attorneys at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, to discuss the rise of trade secret actions at the International Trade Commission, as well as the legislative push for a Federal cause of action for trade secret actions.

Almost thirty years ago, Congress empowered the ITC, through trial-like investigations on a truncated timeline, to exclude goods from the United States based on violations of any unfair trade practice, including misappropriation of trade secrets. The ITC offers distinct advantages over traditional litigation. In rem jurisdiction, powerful remedies, and a shortened timeline often lead to results for parties confronted with problematic international business disputes. The ITC’s doors are open to both foreign-originating and U.S.-based parties as long as the parties can establish the jurisdictional requirements. And recent decisions by the Federal Circuit and the ITC have strengthened trade secret law and allow parties to press violations where the misappropriation occurred entirely outside of the U.S.

To help guide parties presented with such disputes, Mr.. Stroud and Mr. Riley collected and analyzed all of the trade secret actions ever before the ITC in an article selected as one of the top 10 intellectual property articles of 2014. They offer insights into ITC trade secret practice, and discuss it in the context of the growing legislative effort to create a federal trade secret cause of action. Even parties well versed in ITC patent practice would do well to heed the value of including trade secret contentions in ITC complaints.