The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced a pilot program designed to determine whether the early identification and adjudication of case-dispositive issues could reduce unnecessary litigation and help limit the costs associated with Section 337 investigations.

The Commission's pilot program follows on the heels of its March 2013 determination in Certain Products Having Laminated Packaging, Laminated Packaging, and Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-874, that the presiding Administrative Law Judge issue an initial determination solely on the issue of economic domestic industry within the first 100 days of the investigation. If, at the end of that period, the Administrative Law Judge finds that the complainant has not satisfied the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement, the investigation will be stayed. The domestic industry initial determination is expected to issue on July 5.

The newly unveiled program expands the scope of dispositive issues, such as importation or standing, to be considered by the Commission on an expedited basis. According to its June 24 announcement, "the Commission will identify, at institution, investigations that are likely to present a potentially dispositive issue and direct the assigned Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to rule on that issue early in the investigation through expedited factfinding and an abbreviated hearing limited to the identified issue." The Commission also signaled that it intends to retain the 100-day timeframe ordered in the 874 Investigation, as well as an expedited period of Commission review of the resulting initial determinations.

To date, the Commission has not identified any investigations that are to be part of the pilot program.