Geoffrey A. Manne headshot

President and Founder

Geoffrey A. Manne is president and founder of the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Portland, Oregon. He is also a distinguished fellow at Northwestern University’s Center on Law, Business, and Economics. Previously he taught at Lewis & Clark Law School. Prior to teaching, Manne practiced antitrust law at Latham & Watkins, clerked for Hon. Morris S. Arnold on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as a research assistant for Judge Richard Posner. He was also once (very briefly) employed by the FTC. Manne holds AB & JD degrees from the University of Chicago.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property International Trade Patents

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False Teeth: Why an ITC Case Won’t Chew Up the Internet


Despite much gnashing of teeth about a recent case that turns on a single word in the seemingly arcane 1930 Tariff Act, it’s just not true that The End of The Internet is upon us.

In reality, both the majority and dissenting opinions in the 2014 decision by the International Trade Commission are more like deep anesthetic before an intensive gum cleaning. They both turn on the nitty gritty details of last century’s machinations over the the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act — which you surely thought was safe to purge from your memory after your final high school US history exam.

The key issue in the case, now on appeal at the Federal Circuit, is the ITC’s decision to use its traditional authority over imports in a case involving electronically transmitted “digital articles.” And what began as a simple patent dispute between two manufacturers that make orthodontic appliances has turned into a cause celebre for a vocal cadre of critics who insist the ITC’s ruling will shut down the Internet.

Rest easy; it won’t. The ruling has only a few teeth, and they bite only cheaters.

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