Commissioner Kieff will work to determine the effects of U.S. intellectual property rights violations on U.S. industry.
On October 18, after nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate in August 2013, F. Scott Kieff was sworn in as the most recent Commissioner at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Commissioner Kieff, whose term will expire on June 16, 2020, will join the five other Commissioners at the ITC in overseeing the agency, which has broad powers to enforce trade remedy laws, including high-stakes intellectual property litigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
As a Commissioner, Kieff will be called upon to (i) determine whether U.S. industry is harmed by imports being sold at less than fair value, (ii) investigate the effects of trade and customs law on U.S. industry and report the findings to the president and Congress, and (iii) determine whether U.S. industry is being harmed by the violation of U.S. intellectual property rights. This third role of the ITC has become especially important in the last decade as the number of intellectual property holders seeking relief from the ITC has increased dramatically. This is due, at least in part, to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC, which made it more difficult to obtain injunctions against infringers in U.S. district courts. The ITC, while not empowered to award monetary damages, routinely grants exclusion orders where section 337 violations are found and does not apply the eBay standard for injunctions.
Commissioner Kieff spent the last 15 years in academia, with his work being focused on intellectual property and business law. He has also previously worked in private practice as a patent lawyer.
The addition of Commissioner Kieff, a Republican, will ensure that the Commission is evenly divided politically as is required by statute.
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Thomas B. Kenworthy