As with the rest of the word, coronavirus issues were top of mind at the ITC in Q1. On March 18, the Commission cancelled all hearings scheduled between then and mid-May. This has resulted in a number of cases being put on extended timelines, which is certainly not surprising. In-person events at the ITC are expected to track the Federal government’s guidance in the weeks and months to come.
Another aspect of Commission practice affected is paper copy filings. Paper filings are no longer permitted and everything is being done electronically via EDIS. The Commission’s most up-to-date guidance on its handling of the global pandemic can be found here.
In terms of substance, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in one of Comcast’s long-running disputes with Rovi that confirmed the Commission can exclude imported components that indirectly infringe a complainant’s patents. At the Commission level, Judge Elliot’s finding of default in the 1159 Investigation was quite notable due to the severity of the sanction. This decision is being reviewed by the Commission and it will be interesting to see how the Commission rules. Judge Elliot, for his part, found the respondents deliberately destroyed potentially relevant information. As a result, Judge Elliot held that the respondents should be held in default and subject to an exclusion order. Judge Elliot issued his decision prior to trial.