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Japan: Nikkei interviews Theodore Essex – ITC puts weight on the actual situation of patentees

Last month, Nikkei interviewed Senior Counsel Theodore (Ted) Essex on the importance of The United States International Trade Commission (“ITC”) for Japanese companies. Ted first provided an overview of the function of this quasi-judicial federal agency which decides, based on patentees’ applications, whether to give an injunction on infringing products. He commented that the ITC has started putting an importance on whether “the patentee actually manufactures and sells products in the U.S.” when they make a decision. Ted believes that this trend is rooted in an increasing understanding that in order to protect U.S. industries, patent trolls that acquire many patents and sues others, have to be stopped.

Commenting on specific links to Japan, Ted outlined some ITC proceedings where Japanese industrial companies on the world stage have applied for an injunction against each other. He believes that foreign companies are likely to be able to continue using ITC proceedings as they would be regarded as contributing to the U.S. economy as long as they manufacture and sell products in the U.S.

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