One emerging International Trade Commission trend involves the way non-practicing entities have begun to make inroads there — a development likely to gain momentum from an April ruling by the full commission that says, in most cases, merely spending money on litigation qualifies an ITC complainant as a “domestic industry” worthy of protection. The case, Certain Coaxial Cable Connectors, is significant for another reason: It marked the first public battle between Big Tech and NPEs over who deserves to be at the ITC — and Big Tech lost.

The complainant in the case, Syracuse, N.Y.-based PPC, has no U.S. operations that qualify it as a domestic industry under ITC rules. It argued, though, that legal costs it incurred while enforcing its patents in court should earn it domestic industry status, because the suits resulted in a patent license. The full commission agreed to consider the case late last year and sought public comment from interested parties.

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