The ITC and Digital Trade: The ClearCorrect Decision

Policy Forum
December 9, 2015
12:00PM to 1:30PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring Geoffrey Manne, Founder and Executive Director, International Center for Law and Economics; Sapna Kumar, Associate Professor, University of Houston Law Center; and Shara Aranoff, Of Counsel, Covington and Burling LLP, and former Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission; moderated by Daniel Pearson, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is authorized by Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to restrict the importation of articles that infringe patents and other intellectual property rights. In its ClearCorrect decision, which involves clear plastic teeth straighteners, a 5–1 ITC majority found that electronic data transmissions also qualify as articles under Section 337. A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued a 2-1 verdict against the ITC, but that split ruling may be subject to further review.

Does the ITC’s decision in ClearCorrect reflect a correct reading of the statute, or has the majority gotten it wrong? If the judicial system eventually agrees with the Commission, will the precedent have only limited effect, or will Internet freedom be compromised by potential ITC scrutiny of imported digital data? Please join us to hear diverse perspectives on these issues.