As we have previously posted, the ITC currently has two open Commissioner positions after the exits of Commissioners Kieff and Pinkert earlier this year. On September 28, 2017, President Trump announced his nomination of Dennis M. Devaney and Randolph J. Stayin to fill these vacancies. These nominations come with the ITC operating with only four out of six Commissioners and a historically high Section 337 caseload.
ALJ Essex has retired from the ITC after a decade of service. News of his retirement was provided in notices issued by Chief ALJ Bullock in investigations previously assigned to ALJ Essex.
The Commission issued an Opinion finding a violation of Section 337 in Certain Air Mattress Systems, Components Thereof, and Methods of Using Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-971. Of note, the Commission reversed a part of ALJ Bullock’s initial determination (ID) which had found that Complainant did not satisfy the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement.
The ITC has dealt a significant blow to the use of Inter Partes Review as a defense to a Section 337 investigation. In an order issued this week, the Commission denied a request to stay remedial orders that are currently on appeal after the asserted claims were found unpatentable by the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board in IPR proceedings.
Last week, Judge Essex issued a notice updating his ground rules in active investigations pending before him.
ITC Commissioner F. Scott Kieff has announced that he is leaving the ITC to return to his previous academic position as a professor at the George Washington University Law School. Kieff’s last day at the ITC will be June 30, 2017.