international trade court vs. commission

Wednesday 24 February, 2010

I caught this article by Ameet Sachdev in the Chicago Tribune International Trade Commission a battleground for global disputes & I bring it up to compare/contrast it with an entry I made late last year us international trade court speech. These bring to mind the different ways to resolve international trade disputes.  The International Trade Court is one option.  The International Trade Commission is another.  I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t recommend which you use to press your case, but as an international businessperson, I am familiar with international trade issues, & especially global intellectual property issues since I work with technology companies.

An observation: that these organizations have jurisdiction here in the US, so they can help protect you against unfair international (i.e. foreign-based) competition here in the US.  For protection outside of the US, you have to go elsewhere for resolution.  That doesn’t help my clients who are looking to sell outside of the US.

To enforcement, (always a key issue in my mind for legal issues) :   if the commission cannot award monetary damages, how powerful can it be?  It appears as if they can make decisions with ramifications moving forward, but can do nothing to re-mediate past transgressions.  That means unfair foreign competitors can make a killing, & then if forced out of the market, can take their winnings & go home.  That seems unfair to local competitors.  In these cases, it looks like working through the court may be a better option.

Since the mission of the commission is to “protect US industries & jobs,” as a foreign company doing business here, (of which there are many & that number is growing), I would question how fairly my argument would be treated.  Any organization which has a political mandate raises the issue of fairness.  I understand that foreign-based companies with large operations here are using the commission to defend their rights here, but it still doesn’t deflect from the fairness issue.  In those cases, the commission is simply defending the US-based interest of the foreign company.  In my mind fairness should be the goal rather than protecting the home team.  That way, when the home team wins, it’s all the more impressive.

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