Feb 23, 2023Legal
USITC Appoints Experienced Intellectual Property Litigator as Administrative Law Judge Amid Growing Section 337 Investigations

Earlier today, Patexia announced the release of its Fourth ITC Intelligence Report and Rankings. As covered in Patexia 169, there has been an upward trend in Section 337 investigations starting since 2020, with a filing activity increase of 18.64% compared to 2019, followed by a 5.71% increase in 2021 and a 5.41% increase in 2022. This was accompanied by several high-profile lateral moves among ITC attorneys during the 2022-2023 period, resulting in a significant shift in the landscape. One such move occurred in early 2023, when key attorneys from AMS Trade joined Polsinelli. The report has covered the fact that presently, there are only five active Administrative Law Judges and it looks like the ITC is repositioning to the increased caseload by appointing a sixth ALJ.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has appointed Doris Johnson Hines as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) effective February 27, 2023. Johnson Hines brings a wealth of experience in intellectual property litigation to the USITC, having worked in both the public and private sectors. In her new role, she will manage an active litigation docket, preside over evidentiary hearings, and make initial determinations in Section 337 investigations, most of which involve allegations of patent and trademark infringement.

This announcement comes as the USITC responds to the growing number of Section 337 investigations reported by Patexia ITC Report Intelligence. The USITC is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that investigates and makes determinations in proceedings involving imports claimed to injure a domestic industry, violations of U.S. intellectual property rights, or other unfair methods of competition in connection with imported goods.

Johnson Hines has extensive experience in intellectual property litigation, having led teams in U.S. district courts, the USITC, and before arbitration panels. She argued over a dozen appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and was regularly involved in license negotiations, especially with respect to standard essential patents. Johnson Hines comes to the Commission from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, where she is currently a Partner. Johnson Hines also participated in Finnegan’s veterans pro bono program, representing veterans in appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit.

Johnson Hines spent the early years of her career involved in patent application drafting and worldwide prosecution. She worked as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and served as a law clerk to Judge Giles S. Rich at the Federal Circuit.

Johnson Hines holds a juris doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

As the USITC continues to investigate and make determinations in proceedings involving intellectual property rights and unfair methods of competition in connection with imported goods, Johnson Hines' experience and expertise will be an asset to the commission.

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