By Eric Schweibenz
On February 6, 2012, the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a press release highlighting the record number of new intellectual property-related investigations filed during FY 2011.

According to the article, 70 new investigations were instituted under Section 337 during FY 2011, which is up from 51 new investigations in FY 2010.  Despite the record number of new filings, the average completion time for investigations concluded during FY 2011 was 13.7 months.  This is down from 18.4 months in FY 2010 and 17.9 months in FY 2009. 

As expected, the majority of cases instituted under Section 337 involved allegations of patent infringement.  Lynn Levine, Director of the ITC’s Office of Unfair Imports Investigations, indicates that attorneys who practice before the ITC attribute the agency’s ever increasing Section 337 docket to the ITC’s ability to issue exclusion orders and to quickly complete investigations.

Further, during FY 2011, the ITC increased the number of attorneys in its Office of the Administrative Law Judges and Office of the General Counsel, hired two new administrative law judges to replace two that had retired, and allocated funds to build a third courtroom and related work areas.