From iPads to caskets, sex toys to semiconductors, the International Trade Commission has been flooded with patent disputes involving billions of dollars worth of products. In fact, there’s never been a year like 2010 at the agency, where the number of intellectual property cases filed hit an all-time high, up 75% from 2009.

Filing a case at the commission amounts to forum shopping — the same matter could be brought in virtually any U.S. district court instead. So why are so many lawyers and their Fortune 500 clients now flocking to the ITC to pursue patent or trademark infringement claims?

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