Matt Tanielian, executive director of International Trade Commission Working Group said that patent trolls use this threat as part of a leverage game or a litigation tactic. He said that it has nothing to do with the merits or protecting international trade. The ITC is supposed to protect the US economy from unfair competition, but in the past six years issued a single import ban requested by patent owners who didn’t either make products or invent the technology in question. Eighteen per cent of ITC cases during that time were filed by patent licensing companies, according to a June report by the agency.
Now the US government is being heavily lobbied by corporates who have had enough. The ITC Working Group spent $550,000 last year lobbying Congress, trying to force trolls to sue in federal court for relief instead of seeking import bans at the ITC.
The House Judiciary Committee last week held a hearing on curbing “abusive” patent litigation.
Tanielian said that the threat of a possible import ban is being used to force manufacturers into settling for more than they would normally pay.