The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) unveiled plans for a new pilot program intended to bring about faster, more cost-effective resolutions to import trade cases hinging on intellectual property infringement disputes.
The new initiative directs investigators to identify "potentially dispositive" issues earlier in their deliberation process. Perhaps the most important such issue is whether or not the supposedly infringing product would disrupt the operations of a well-established U.S. industrial operation. According to Reuters, this provision seems to be a direct attempt to curb the frequency of frivolous lawsuits filed by non-practicing entities who maintain no earnest production, licensing or research efforts.
While this domestic industry clause has always been a part of the trial process, moving it closer to the beginning could save all parties involved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars wasted on baseless litigation.
The pilot program is not being universally applauded, however, as some critics worry that the new provisions fail to exempt the activity of legitimate licensing firms. According to Forbes, the fact that the current wording only covers substantive U.S. industrial operations could leave foreign holders of American intellectual assets unable to take advantage of ITC rules.