ITC reaffirms its power to bar digital file transfers

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has reaffirmed its power to ban electronic transmissions (such as pirated films or software) from the US where those transmissions infringe an intellectual property right or are otherwise based on an unfair trade practice. Civil penalties for violating such an ITC order can be twice the value of the imported article or $100,000 (£60,000) per day — whichever is greater.

The US ITC has issued cease-and-desist orders against companies that were electronically importing digital data found to infringe US patents. The decision settles any remaining ambiguity about the ITC’s power to bar electronic data transmissions, such as pirated films or software, from abroad.

The decision came nearly two years after the ITC instituted Certain Digital Models, Digital Data and Treatment Plans for Use, in Making Incremental Dental Positioning Adjustment Appliances, the Appliances Made Therefrom and Methods of Making the Same (Digital Models). Align Technology filed the complaint against respondents ClearConnect US and ClearConnect Pakistan (ClearConnect), alleging that ClearConnect infringed its patented method of making patient-customised dental equipment. Align Technology alleged that ClearConnect collected patient data in the US, electronically transmitted it to Pakistan for analysis and processing and then electronically transmitted it back into the US, where it manufactured the infringing dental equipment…

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