Articles Posted in U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

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The Department of Commerce investigated Essar's participation in several programs, including its purchase of iron ore from India's government-owned National Mineral Development Corporation and participation in programs under India's Special Economic Zone Act, and found that Essar received countervailable subsidies (19 U.S.C. 1677(5)(E)(iv)) from the government of India for certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products. The Court of International Trade affirmed that holding, but remanded with respect to whether the company received subsidies through the Indian state of Chhattisgarh Industrial Program. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to the subsidies from the Indian government, but reversed with respect to the CIP. The lower court should have upheld Commerce's application of adverse facts against Essar; Essar did not act to the best of its ability during the review with regard to the CIP issue. View "Essar Steel, Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1998, the Supreme Court held that the Harbor Maintenance Tax, 26 U.S.C. 4461-4462, was unconstitutional as applied to exports. U.S. Customs enacted procedures for refunds and established a separate HMT database with data from its ACS database, through which HMT payments had been processed. Customs discovered wide-spread inaccuracies in its HMT database, but was unable to make corrections related to payments made before July 1, 1990, because it no longer had original documents. Customs established different requirements for supporting documentation, depending on whether an exporter was seeking a refund of pre- or post-July 1, 1990 payments. Ford sought HMT refunds for both pre- and post-July 1, 1990, payments and has received more than $17 million, but claims that Customs still owes about $2.5 million. In addition to a FOIA Report of Ford’s pre-July 1, 1990 payments was drawn from information in the ACS database, Ford submitted an affidavit attesting that it was only claiming refunds of HMT paid on exports and declarations about the consistency and quality of its quarterly HMT payment records. Customs denied the claims. The Trade Court entered judgment in favor of the government. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The claims were insufficient because there still was high potential for error. View "Ford Motor Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Domestic producers submitted an antidumping investigation petition to the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission concerning imports of butt-weld pipe fittings from China and Thailand. Butt-weld fittings are forged steel products used to join pipe where conditions require permanent, welded connections. The petition identified products by inside diameter and compliance with certain ASTM and ANSI industry standards. Commerce issued a final determination that the products were being dumped. The ITC concluded that the domestic industry was materially injured by the dumped imports. The final anti-dumping duty order referred to fittings used to "join sections in piping systems." In 2009, King requested a scope ruling that butt-weld pipe fittings it imported from China were outside the scope of the order; its imported fittings are physically identical to those subject to the order, but were used "for structural use in applications such as handrails, fencing, and guardrails." Commerce concluded that the imports were within the scope of the order. The Trade Court concluded that the order was restricted to fittings used in piping systems. The Federal Circuit reversed, holding that the Trade Court gave inadequate deference to Commerce's scope ruling that the order did not contain such an end-use restriction. View "King Supply Co., LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

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On GE’s complaint, the International Trade Commission conducted an investigation and, rejecting the findings of an ALJ determined that GE's 039 patent was not invalid by reason of obviousness or written description, that variable speed wind turbines imported by Mitsubishi do not infringe any of GE's patents, and that the domestic industry requirement is not met as to any of the patents. The Commission concluded that the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, was not violated. The 039 patent subsequently expired. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the 221 patent is not infringed, but reversed the determination of no domestic industry as to the 985 patent, and remanded. View "Gen. Elec. Co. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law

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In 2001, U.S. Customs classified Aromont's imported flavorings, derived from veal, chicken, duck, lamb, beef, fish, lobster, mushroom, or vegetable stock, under Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheading 2104.10.00 covering "[s]oups and broths and preparations therefor ... Other." Aromont argued that the flavorings should have been classified under subheading 2106.90.99 covering "[f]ood preparations not elsewhere specified or included," which carries a lower ad valorem tax. Customs denied the protest and liquidated the merchandise. The Trade Court found that the products are not covered by 2104 because they are not principally used as soups or broths, but in a variety of end uses. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Aromont made a strong showing with respect to actual use, physical characteristics, and cost. The government did not show that any other factors required a contrary result, or that there is an issue of material fact on any of the relevant factors. View "Aromont USA, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In an action under the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, the International Trade Commission found unfair trade practices based on infringement of Epson's U.S. patents by importation and sale of ink printer cartridges produced in China by Ninestar and imported into and sold in the U.S. by entities including Ninestar's subsidiaries, The Commission issued a general exclusion order, limited exclusion orders, and cease and desist orders. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Final Orders prohibited importation and sale of infringing cartridges, including cartridges in the inventory of U.S. subsidiaries. Subsidiaries continued to import and sell cartridges that were subject to the orders. An Administrative Law Judge determined that Ninestar was in violation and levied a penalty under 19 U.S.C. 1337(f)(2). The Commission reduced the penalty. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding Ninestar China jointly and severally liable for the penalty ($55,000 per day, a total of $11,110,000) along with the U.S. subsidiaries. Ninestar was aware that refurbishing and reselling spent cartridges, not first sold in the U.S., would be patent infringement View "Ninestar Tech. Co., Ltd. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, domestic producers, sought distributions under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, since repealed, which directed the government to distribute collected duties to domestic producers harmed by dumping, 19 U.S.C. 1675c(a). Plaintiffs also sought to compel assessment and collection of additional anti-dumping duties, claiming that U.S. Customs has failed to collect $723 million $771 million in assessed anti-dumping duties. The U.S. Court of International Trade dismissed. Certain counts were dismissed for lack of standing on the ground that plaintiffs were not intended third-party beneficiaries of bond contracts intended to cover anti-dumping penalties. Other counts were dismissed for for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, finding alternate grounds for dismissal. The court lacked jurisdiction over claims against the sureties. Plaintiffs do not qualify as intended third-party beneficiaries. View "Sioux Honey Ass'n v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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The Tariff Act of 1930 provides for two types of duties on imports that injure domestic industries: antidumping duties on goods sold in the U.S. at less than fair value, 19 U.S.C. 1673, and countervailing duties to offset subsidies on goods from a foreign government (1671(a)). In the case of goods exported from market economy countries (non-NME countries), both antidumping and countervailing duties may be imposed. The U.S. Court of International Trade ordered the Department of Commerce not to impose countervailing duties on goods from China, a NME country. The Trade Court held that Commerce's 2007 interpretation of countervailing duty law as permitting the imposition of such duties was unreasonable because of the high likelihood of double counting when both countervailing duties and antidumping duties are assessed against goods from NME countries. The Federal Circuit affirmed on different grounds. In amending and reenacting countervailing duty law in 1988 and 1994, Congress legislatively ratified earlier consistent administrative and judicial interpretations that government payments cannot be characterized as subsidies in a NME context, therefore countervailing duty law does not apply to NME countries. View "GPX Int'l Tire Corp. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The company imported plasma flat panel televisions, made or assembled in Mexico, between 2003, and 2005 that were liquidated as dutiable under subheading 8528.12.72 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule at a rate of five percent. The company claimed that the televisions should be treated as duty-free under the North American Free Trade Agreement. After filing protests with United States Customs and Border Protection, the company filed in the Court of International Trade, arguing that its protest was denied or deemed denied under 19 U.S.C. 1515(a) because Customs had taken more than two years to act on its protest, or under 28 U.S.C. 1581(i). The Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, interpreting 1515(a) to impose neither automatic allowance nor automatic denial of a protest, and concluding that jurisdiction was therefore not proper under 1581(a) or (i). The Court noted that, to establish jurisdiction, the company could file for accelerated disposition under 19 U.S.C. 1515(b) and wait for a maximum of 30 days. The Federal Circuit affirmed, View "Hitachi Home Electronics (America), Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a domestic manufacturer of cast steel railway wheels, owns two secret processes for manufacturing such wheel. It uses one process at three of its domestic foundries and has licensed the other to firms with foundries in China. Unsuccessful in obtaining a license for plaintiff's process, defendant hired employees that had been trained in plaintiffs' processes and began manufacturing wheels in China for sale in the U.S. The International Trade Commission found violation of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1337, finding that found that the wheels were manufactured using a process developed in the U.S., protected under domestic trade secret law, and misappropriated abroad. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that the wheel imports threaten to destroy or substantially injure an industry in the U.S., in violation of section 337, which covers "[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the importation of articles . . . into the United States." The Commission has authority to investigate and grant relief based in part on extraterritorial conduct insofar as it is necessary to protect domestic industries from injuries arising out of unfair competition in the domestic marketplace. View "Tianrui Grp. Co., Ltd. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law