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USITC Investigates Nokia, Apple Patent Dispute

January 25, 2017

USITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Mobile Phones, Tablet Computers, and Components Thereof

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablet computers, and components thereof. The products at issue in the investigation are generally known to consumers as mobile phones or smartphones and tablet computers or tablets.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Nokia Technologies Oy of Espoo, Finland, on December 22, 2016. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablet computers, and components thereof that allegedly infringe patents asserted by the complainant. The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

The USITC has identified Apple Inc., a/k/a Apple Computer, Inc., of Cupertino, CA, as the respondent in this investigation.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1038), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.

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