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U.S. International Trade Commission Rules That Patent Case Between InterDigital and LG Must Be Arbitrated

Monday, April, 29, 2013


The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that InterDigital Inc. and LG Electronics Inc. must enter into arbitration over a dispute involving LG's alleged trade law violations.  However, a Federal Circuit panel discussed whether or not the mandated arbitration decision should be overruled.  This deliberation stems from InterDigital’s claims that the dispute with LG should be investigated by the Commission rather than sent to arbitration, since LG’s imported products infringe on several 3G patents owned by InterDigital. 

Regarding the question of whether or not arbitration was the best decision, Judge William C. Bryson stated, “A lot of it turns, it seems to me, on whether we see this [ITC decision] as final.”  Another Judge presiding over the case, Judge Alan D. Lourie, stated that the International Trade Commission “short-stopped” the case by granting the motion filed by LG to stop the investigation. 

However, the ruling that the case must be arbitrated is a final one, which means that InterDigital might not see relief for the alleged patent dispute for several months or years to come.  If LG had been investigated by the International Trade Commission for violations against Section 337 of the Tariff Act, this relief would have been much more immediate. 

InterDigital’s attorney, Richard P. Bress, stated “This is final in the sense that even if we come back before the commission, it will be an entirely new case.  We're being denied an exclusion order for 18 months or more.  If Congress meant to make a clear and convincing statement that we don't want review here, they could have done it.”

ITC’s choice to send the matter to arbitration stemmed from an arbitration agreement between the two companies.  According to the ITC, if they had issued a ruling regarding the dispute, it would have been in direct violation of precedents set by the Federal Circuit courts