The United States Steel Corporation has decided to withdraw its complaint levied against several Chinese steel companies for “theft of trade secrets,” but will continue to litigate claims related to anti-trust and false designation.
According to an announcement on the company’s official website on Feb. 15, United States Steel Corp. has decided to withdraw the complaint, as Section 337 was outdated and “never contemplated the technological advancements over the past 50 years.” The company also called for the U.S. government to provide “legal avenues for corporate victims in cyber crimes.”
The announcement comes after the steel company filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to initiate an investigation under Section 337 on April 26, 2016, in which the company alleged three causes of action against Chinese enterprises. These causes of action included conspiracy to illegally fix steel prices, theft of trade secrets and false designation of the origin of steel.
Apart from the withdrawn complaints, two other accusations were already dismissed by USITC in November 2016 and January 2017. The case has drawn attention from both U.S. and Chinese media, as Section 337 of the United States Tariff Act of 1930 has not been used by the steel industry in almost four decades.
The investigation is based on the Tariff Act of 1930, which aims to prevent U.S. companies from intellectual property infringement and other unfair practices in import trade. The investigation has been criticized by some as a way of promoting U.S. protectionism. From 2007 to 2016, the U.S. initiated 392 investigations under section 337, with 169 targeting China, making the latter the most investigated nation for 13 consecutive years.