Into The <i>Heartland</i> Resource Center

Into The Heartland Resource Center

Selecting venue in patent infringement cases following the Supreme Court's decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC

On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, No. 16-341, restricting venue in patent infringement cases.  The decision altered 30 years of precedent interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), which provides: “[a]ny civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.”  For three decades, courts had held that a defendant under this statute “resides” in any judicial district in the United States where the defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction.  This interpretation of § 1400(b) resulted in extensive forum shopping.  For example, in 2016, more than 35% of all patent infringement cases were filed in the Eastern District of Texas.  The Court held that “resides” under § 1400(b) means the place of incorporation for a domestic corporation, thereby severely restricting where venue is proper.

The TC Heartland decision has the potential to have a huge impact on patent infringement litigation.  It is already having an impact on new patent case filings, and venue questions are being raised for already-filed cases. The IP Litigation Team at Fried Frank is continuously tracking the impact of TC Heartland and we have set up this portal to share information, insights, and analysis regarding the latest patent venue-related developments.

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