International Decisions, Gatt Dispute Settlement Panel, United States – Section 337 of Tariff Act of 1930
The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 84, p. 274, 1990
7 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2009
Date Written: 1990
The European Economic Community (EEC) requested that the Council of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) establish a panel under GATT Article XXIII(2) to consider the application of section 337 of the United States Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1337 (1982 & Supp. V 1988)). The Community sought a finding that the procedures applied under section 337 in patent-based cases were inconsistent with the GATT obligation to accord national treatment to imported goods and thus constituted prima facie nullification or impairment of benefits accruing to the Community under the GATT. The panel established under the authority of the Council found: (1) that certain aspects of section 337 procedure accord less favorable treatment to imported goods than is accorded to goods of domestic origin by the comparable procedures of patent litigation in the federal district courts, and are therefore inconsistent with the national treatment obligation of GATT Article III(4); and (2) that these instances of less favorable treatment cannot in many respects be justified as “necessary” under the exception for enforcement measures in GATT Article XX(d). The panel recommended that the GATT contracting parties ask the United States to bring its procedures into conformity with the General Agreement. This article reviews and analyzes the panel’s decision.
Keywords: International law, GATT, intellectual property
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation