In 2012, the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a general exclusion order in favor of Louis Vuitton, prohibiting the importation of any good infringing upon Louis Vuitton’s famous trademarks. This exclusion order applies to any entity importing infringing goods, regardless of their status as a party in the ITC investigation. This type of equitable relief is extremely powerful, and would be preferable over monetary relief to trademark owners in many scenarios. This was one of the first large-scale trademark investigations heard by the ITC, and should lead to a drastic increase in the number of trademark owners who consider the ITC as a viable option for dispute resolution.
The ITC has many potential advantages over District Courts, and this Article discusses what potential advantages it may offer a trademark owner looking to protect their mark against infringement. Given its quick resolution, at an average of 15 months, the ITC is nearly always a much quicker avenue to resolution than District Court. Further, The ITC’s power to issue equitable relief rather monetary relief gives trademark owners a choice about which type of remedy would be preferable in their situation. Given the differences in how disputes will be handled by District Courts and the ITC, trademark owners should consider their unique situations and determine whether the ITC may be their preferred alternative to bringing a suit in a District Court.