Photograph of Lyle Vander Schaaf

Lyle Vander Schaaf


Lyle Vander Schaaf co-leads Crowell & Moring's Chambers-listed and Legal 500-recognized ITC 337 Litigation Practice. He began his career on IP cases representing small companies defending themselves against Fortune 500 corporations in “bet the company” type ITC proceedings and learned early on how important it is to provide a strong, tireless defense in order for his clients to prevail. He still brings an impassioned tirelessness to all his clients’ cases—as if their problems were his own. And, he hates to lose.

Lyle has an active practice in investigations before the U.S. International Trade Commission and their parallel proceedings in Federal Court, covering alleged patent infringement, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation and other alleged unfair practices in import trade. He served in the Office of General Counsel of the ITC from 1991 to 1996 and was detailed to the Office of Chairman Watson in 1994.

Outside of his ITC practice, Lyle has an active practice representing clients in international trade proceedings before the ITC, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Lyle regularly represents clients in licensing intellectual property and litigating in federal courts.

In addition to appearing regularly on panels in the United States and abroad, Lyle has provided numerous presentations on IP and international trade matters and has authored a substantial number of articles on various IP, ITC and international trade subjects. He has been quoted numerous times in Bloomberg, the Washington Post, Managing IP, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, Law360 and China Intellectual Property News and appeared on Bloomberg TV.

Lyle focuses his practice on the ITC and studies all of its decisions. He has anticipated the changes that have occurred over the past several years in the ITC so that his clients were able to successfully maneuver through the agency’s changing proceedings. He is never afraid to challenge how other attorneys bring matters before the ITC.

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Lyle was a shareholder at Brinks Gilson & Lione.

Representative Experience

  • Lyle’s background suits him well to defend clients in ITC Section 337 IP proceedings. On behalf of three small importers, Lyle stood up to the world’s largest manufacturer of bearings and prevailed in the ITC, and then prevailed when the losing party appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and then succeeded in defending against a certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court. Lyle also has fought against one of the world’s largest heavy equipment manufacturers that sought in the ITC to exclude his small clients’ imports of heavy equipment. His steadfast defense did not diminish all the way to the eve of trial when the opposing party sought settlement on terms acceptable to his clients. Lyle was also fundamental to the defense of the firm’s clients who were in a hard-fought skirmish against one of their key competitors at the ITC. The clients prevailed on all but one claim of one patent (out of a total of 96 claims in 6 patents) and then designed-around that claim. Lyle’s experience before the ITC helped the clients prevail in an enforcement proceeding at the ITC (the first ever such victory for a respondent), proceedings before U.S. Customs and Border Protection, appeals to the U.S. Court of International Trade and finally in an emergency appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ultimately, none of the clients’ imports were excluded from the market. Lyle also was key to the success of a client in China that was sued on four separate occasions in the ITC and prevailed in all four cases—and any appeals that ensued in the Federal Circuit.
  • Lyle formerly worked in the Office of the General Counsel of the ITC and was detailed for a time to the then-Chairman’s Office and, from this experience, he provides an insider’s perspective to how the ITC will decide a case. Having worked on Section 337 IP proceedings and antidumping/countervailing duty trade proceedings inside the ITC, he now provides his insights as an insider to win cases on behalf of his clients at the ITC. Since leaving the ITC, Lyle has worked on numerous Section 337 proceedings covering patent infringement, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation and other unfair practices in import trade. Since working on a Section 337 proceeding in 1988 as a first-year associate, he has handled over 45 Section 337 proceedings either inside the ITC or in private practice representing clients before the agency.
  • Lyle has an in-depth understanding of all facets of ITC proceedings, including the Commissioners’ review phase of the ALJ’s initial determination, the Presidential review phase before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the enforcement phase before the ITC, and the customs enforcement phase before U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Throughout his career, Lyle has worked on numerous matters before the USTR, CBP and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). He has handled over 25 cases before the U.S. Court of International Trade on customs, IP and international trade matters stemming from decisions of USTR, CBP, the DOC or the ITC. He also has argued five cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which presides over all appeals of ITC Section 337 proceedings and all customs and trade appeals from the U.S. Court of International Trade.
  • Lyle represents complainant Shenzhen Smoore Technology Ltd. in patent infringement and unfair import investigation. Convinced the ITC to institute an investigation and reject respondents’ arguments concerning public interest and the domestic industry economic prong. Early wins include consent order stipulations and settlement agreements to cease U.S. imports of the accused products. ITC trial against the remaining respondents expected in August 2022. This is the first U.S. ITC Section 337 investigation in which the sole complainant is located in China (Certain Oil-Vaping Cartridges). 


  • University of Iowa, B.A. (1985) with honors
  • American University Washington College of Law, J.D. (1988)


  • American Bar Association, Sections on Intellectual Property and International Law
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • International Trademark Association
  • ITC Trial Lawyers Association


Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, U.S. Court of International Trade, Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

View More

Crowell Ranked Among the Top 20 U.S. ITC Litigation Firms by Patexia (April 1, 2022)
Firm News / Announcement
Patexia Insight 110: Leading ITC Law Firms of 2021 Patexia (July 1, 2021)
Press Coverage
"USTR Identifies Action Under Section 301 and Proposed List of Products Subject to Increased Tariffs," IP Insights (April 4, 2018). Contact: Lyle Vander Schaaf
Client Alert / Newsletter
Lyle Vander Schaaf and Carl Charneski mentioned in Law360 Law360 (November 2, 2015)
Press Coverage
"Fed. Circ. Breaks Impasse On ITC Authority In Suprema," Law360 (August 12, 2015). Author: Lyle Vander Schaaf
Lyle Vander Schaaf quoted in Law360 Law360 (August 11, 2015)
Press Coverage
"Battling Grey Market Imports? The ITC is Here to Help," Corporate Counsel (May 7, 2015). Author: Lyle Vander Schaaf
"Trade & Customs," (January 2, 2014). Author: Lyle Vander Schaaf
"Why ITC Is Still A Good Venue For Patent Disputes," Law360 (August 9, 2013). Author: Lyle Vander Schaaf
"Federal Circuit Affirms $11 Million Penalty for Deliberate Evasion of ITC Remedial Orders," Oxford University Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (June 2012). Author: Lyle Vander Schaaf

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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