The Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII) participates as a full party representing the public interest in adjudicatory investigations conducted under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. These investigations most frequently involve allegations of patent or trademark infringement. Allegations of copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, passing off, false advertising, and antitrust violations also can be litigated in these investigations. In addition to the investigation of a complaint under section 337, the Commission may conduct an enforcement proceeding to determine whether the importation or sale of a specific product violates an existing Commission order. Also, the Commission may issue advisory opinions regarding whether certain anticipated conduct would violate an outstanding Commission order.
The mission of the Office of Unfair Import Investigations is to investigate and assess the sufficiency of complaints filed under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, participate as a party representing the public interest in section 337 investigations, identify relevant issues and develop relevant information in such investigations, and conduct appropriate preliminary investigations under section 603 of the Tariff Act. The Director, Office of Unfair Import Investigations, reports to the Director, Office of Operations.
- Responds to public inquiries regarding section 337 and prospective complaints, reviews section 337 complaints for sufficiency and recommends to the Commission whether to institute section 337 investigations, and proposes and conducts preliminary investigations of possible unfair import practices.
- Performs substantive litigation activities as an independent party representing the public interest in section 337 investigations by developing relevant information and advocating on behalf of the public an independent position on the issues so that the Commission and its Administrative Law Judges can discharge the statutory decision-making responsibilities in such investigations.
- Monitors compliance with certain reporting and other requirements of exclusion, cease and desist, and consent orders entered in section 337 investigations, investigates possible violations of such orders, and initiates or participates in Commission enforcement proceedings.
- Acts as liaison between the Commission and other Federal agencies regarding certain matters concerning sections 337 and 603 investigations.
- Conducts inquiries in response to reports of violation of protective orders during certain binational panel reviews and participates in subsequent proceedings regarding such alleged violations.
- Reviews and participates in drafting and revising guidance in the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, USITC internal rules, and other policy documents related to the functions set forth in this statement.
- Follows and supports all agency-wide functions including EEO, ethics, audit follow-up, and property management.