Tuesday, February 20, 2007

ITC Asks Congress For More Funding To Deal With Increased Patent Workload

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has gained considerable clout over the last 5 years in adjudicating patent disputes and continues to serve as a quicker-moving alternative to district court litigation. The six-member commission, empowered by the 1930 Tariff Act to block infringing products from being imported into the U.S., usually delivers a final ruling within 15 months, compared with two or three years for a typical federal-court case.

Patent suits more than doubled between 1995 and 2005, going from 1,212 filings to 2,706. The number of infringement cases before the ITC more than doubled to 40 last year from 2002, and is expected to rise again this year.

To deal with the increased workload, the ITC is asking Congress to boost its budget to $67.1 million next fiscal year from $62.7 million for the year ending Sept. 30. The commission is hiring attorneys and plans to add a fifth administrative law judge plus a replacement for Judge Sidney Harris, who is retiring this week.

See Senate Report 109-280, detailing appropriations for 2007.

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