What is 337 Investigation and 337 Clause

2008.06.30 Unilumin

Define: American 337 Investigation, which roots from 337 Clause, is well known for Section 337 in American《Tariff Law in 1930》, and was revised for three times. Now 337 Clause definitely empowered America ITC to make a investigation and ruling to unfair trade of import when American enterprises prosecuted. Provided the determinant infringes 337 Clause, ITC will issue exclusion order to denote American customs to prohibit import of related products. Hence, related products of some enterprise even the whole industry are not allowed to enter American market.

Content: 337 Clause defines unfair trade of import as common unfair trade and unfair trade of intellectual property. However, almost all cases of 337 Investigation are related to the problem of intellectual property.

Procedure: The time limit of 337 Investigation is commonly 12 months. Its main procedure is to prosecute to American ITC. ITC will decide whether record is put on and inform defendant within 30 days. The defendant will submit written answer comment and countercharge within 20 days since the day on which he is informed. Then complicated hearing of witnesses and ITC’s verdict will process. For any unconformity for ITC’s verdict, the defendant can implead to federal courts.

Sequel: In the course of the whole investigation, ITC has the right to issue temporary exclusion order. If ITC makes a verdict for complainant, ITC can provide the measures such as limited exclusive orders, general exclusion orders, ceasing orders, etc.. General orders are effective to not only the products of defendants’ companies but also all the products of all the companies which similarly infringe the patent. And other countries also have the similar stipulations. As a matter of fact, most countries censure America for that  337 Clause disobeys the principia national treatment. Chinese governmental officeholders also take it as an unreasonable protection project of intellectual property, and a trade barrier to importing products.

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