If you are lucky, you will learn that the International Trade Commission may name your company in an investigation before it is instituted. There is a 30-day window between when the complaint is filed and the ITC action begins. While such complaints are public, they are rarely served before the investigation begins — the element of surprise greatly benefits the patentee. Therefore, the first time that many companies hear from — or of — the ITC is when they receive a copy of the notice that an investigation has begun, accompanied by voluminous discovery requests.

There are five specific steps a defendant should immediately take in an ITC action. To appreciate the importance of these steps — and how they can mean the difference between winning and losing — it is first necessary to understand the ITC.

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