Legal Translation Services are Vital
to Success of Patent Infringement Case
Before the ITC

Legal Translation Services for Patent Litigation

We’ve blogged about legal translation services for commercial litigation.  Professional legal translation services for patent litigation in Asian languages and in European languages play an equally important role.  Where do you turn if you believe a foreign company has infringed upon your patent, trademark, or copyright? The answer is the United States International Trade Commission – the ITC. The ITC is charged with the mission of, among other things, investigating and adjudicating alleged patent, trademark, and copyright infringement matters in order to protect the intellectual property rights of United States citizens and companies.

Just in the last two months the ITC has pursued patent infringement investigations on products as varied as electrical ribbon cables, x-ray breast imaging devices, and chemical products for foods and cosmetics; and the ITC is poised to fine Garmin $37 million for infringing on Navico’s patents of sonar navigation products. Indeed, investigations before the ITC largely involving patent infringement matters have increased over the last decade. That increase in investigations, and subsequent patent trials, also means an increase in the need for experienced legal language translation services. This article discusses some basics about the ITC, the ITC patent litigation process with regard to Section 337, and how legal document translation service can help.

What does the ITC do?

The ITC is a quasi-judicial Federal agency. It has a broad mandate to investigate matters of international trade. Specifically, it investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized products on U.S. domestic markets; and more importantly, it adjudicates cases involving imports that may infringe on someone’s intellectual property rights. Also, it provides important trade data to Congress and the White House.

The origins of the ITC date back to the 19th century. At that time, tariff policy was used largely to raise revenue for the country. The need for an objective body to study the impact of tariffs on internal and external trade became apparent. This board of trade experts eventually became what is currently known at the ITC.

How are cases handled before the ITC?

Cases adjudicated before the ITC are commonly called “Section 337 investigations,” referring to the relevant statute number. Without question, the largest percentage of Section 337 investigations involve claims of patent infringement by imported goods. Typically, a case before the ITC begins when a U.S. patent holder, who feels someone infringed on his or her patent, files a complaint with the ITC.

The ITC would then review the complaint. If it finds that there is a credible claim, it would then launch an investigation and report that action in the Federal Register. The ITC investigation, which is conducted pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1337 and the Administrative Procedure Act, includes trial proceedings before an administrative law judge and a review by the Commission. The ITC investigation essentially follows the procedure of a patent litigation trial. In fact, about half of ITC matters are tried before an administrative law judge, and the trials can last over a year. Accordingly, the parties engage in common trial procedures including formal ediscovery, pre-trial motions and hearings, a trial, post-trial motion practice, and appeals.

If, following the Section 337 investigation and adjudication, it has been determined that a patent or other intellectual property was improperly appropriated, then the ITC has several remedies available to it. The primary remedy is something called an “Exclusion Order,” which directs U.S. Customs to stop infringing imports from entering the United States. In addition, the ITC may issue cease and desist orders against named importers and other persons engaged in unfair acts. Temporary exclusion orders and temporary cease and desist orders, for expedited relief, may be available in certain circumstances.

Why are Legal Translation Services so important in ITC cases?

The translation of documents is at the heart of a Section 337 investigation. Indeed, the investigation could not occur without quality, accurate document translation services. ITC investigations, by their very nature, deal with international disputes that most likely involve foreign entities having documents in a language (or several languages) other than English. Accordingly, all the relevant documents in the patent litigation need to be translated into English.

As you well know, patent litigation typically involves the discovery of massive amounts of documentation, and that documentation tends to be highly technical. That becomes an even more complex challenge when the discovery takes place between parties of different countries. Then, of course, there is the need to depose witnesses in other countries. Ultimately, all of the foreign language documentation, pleadings, and depositions need to be translated in English for use before the ITC.

Accordingly, the need for an experienced, high-quality legal translation service is essential. Legal translators have solutions to tackle the translation of voluminous amounts of discovery, and to zero in on the documents that are likely most relevant before translating every page. Litigation, especially as the case nears trial, is a high-stakes, high-pressure undertaking. Your legal translations need to be accurate and on time. All Language Alliance, Inc. has that level of quality and expertise. Be sure to contact us for more information.

If you have a case before the ITC, securing a trusted legal translation service should be one of your first priorities. As you can see, the proper translation of patent litigation documents could be the key to success in any case before the ITC. Contact our legal translation services company to retain Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Cantonese, German, Japanese, and other language interpreters for Section 337 investigations.

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