US Trade Body Investigates Apple and Other Tech Companies for Alleged Violation of Tariff Act of 1930

apple tariff act

The USITC will start investigating whether Apple and other companies violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. A litigation company based in Ireland filed a complaint alleging that Apple and other companies violated the Tariff clause.

Apple and the Tariff Act of 1930

After getting a complaint filed by Arigna Technology Ltd, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) decided to initiate the investigation. On Feb. 7, 2022, the Dublin company filed a complaint with the agency. In its statement, Arigna said that Apple and other companies violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The companies imported and sold certain power semiconductors containing envelope tracking modules into the U.S. They also brought in mobile devices and computers that used these same semiconductors.

The companies named in the case filing include Samsung, Lenovo, Motorola, Microsoft, TCL, OnePlus, TCT, TLE, and Apple.

Arigna requested the USITC issue limited exclusion and cease and desist orders against the identified companies. The alleged violation could fall under section 337 of the Tariff Act. At the same time, the judge could also rule it an unfair competition practice.

What Are Envelope Tracking Modules?

The technology in question pertains to a technique used to enhance the efficiency of a power amplifier for wireless systems. It boosts RF signals to maintain maximum efficiency regardless of power levels.

Precisely what these components are remains unclear. Since other details of the complaints were not disclosed, we can only assume that the alleged tracking modules were in products imported and sold by the aforementioned companies. These products could be smartphones, laptops, and/or computers that utilize wireless technology.

This Could Be Another Case of Unfair Competition Practice

The USITC has yet to decide on the merit of the case. The Commission will assign a judge to lead an evidentiary meeting. This hearing will decide whether the companies in question violated section 337.  The Commission will review the decision later.

As international trade regulation bodies put the heat on tech giants such as Apple for unfair competition practices, another related case would not be good to hear. So before we accuse Apple of committing unfair methods of competition again, we should note that the plaintiff in this case has a suite of other cases under its belt.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Arnold et al:

This makes it clear that Ariana is a patent troll, whose only product is lawsuits. 

I fail to understand why this lucrative industry is legal.

Two points; the operative word is ‘lucrative’, and I am not a lawyer. 

geoduck

But what is the alleged violation? Importing semiconductors is not illegal. What are they actually being accused of doing? What is Section 337?

Jeff Butts

If the product being imported infringes on a US patent, then yes, it’s illegal. Unfortunately, USITC doesn’t give us any details other than what’s already in the article.

Section 337 covers unfair trade practices, patent-infringing imports, etc.

geoduck

Ah, sounds like they are hoping to use the USITC to support an eventual suit for patent infringement and damages. Calling them a Litigation Company is being polite. This story is on other sites now and Arigna is generally being referred to as a patent troll. They are an NPE that has a lot of suits in process.

Jeff Butts

That’s my guess, as well. One interesting note is the claimant has only been around since 2019. And as near as I can gather, they don’t actually make anything.

Jeff Butts

Right, but does the company actually manufacture any of the disputed technology, or just own patents related to them? I couldn’t find a web page for the company or any sort of product list…nothing.