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The ITC Can Play a Critical Role in Combating International Trade Secret Theft

By Mark Klapow and Kathryn Clune and Jessica Thompson of Crowell & Moring

Mark Klapow is a partner in the Litigation Group specializing in complex commercial cases involving intellectual property, antitrust, and business torts. Kathryn Clune is a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property group, where she specializes in patent and trademark litigation, and Jessica Thompson is an associate. All are based in the firms’ Washington D.C. office.

The Federal Circuit has just recently confirmed that the International Trade Commission has jurisdiction over trade secret misappropriation, even if the predicate acts of misappropriation occur entirely outside of the United States. The decision suggests that the ITC can play a very important role in addressing the alarming rise in international trade secret theft. Corporations considering ways to protect their intellectual property against overseas hackers, raiders and other would be thieves must take note of this legal development.

In Tian Rui Group Co. Ltd. v. International Trade Commission, ___ F.3d ___ (Oct. 11, 2011), the Federal Circuit held that Section 337 of the Tariff Act, over which the ITC has exclusive jurisdiction, can be used to prevent the importation of goods produced using misappropriated trade secrets, even if the acts of misappropriation occurred overseas. The Federal Circuit also held in the case that the victim of the alleged misappropriation abroad can satisfy the domestic in...

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