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IP Alert: Supreme Court Issues Significant Interpretation of Patent Venue Statute

May 22, 2017

Today the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC. It did so following consideration of the interplay between two patent venue statutes. The first is 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), which provides a “[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.” The second venue statute considered, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c), provides that “[f]or all venue purposes,” a corporation “shall be deemed to reside, if a defendant, in any judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in question.”

The Court addressed whether the general venue statute 1391(c) “allows a plaintiff to bring a patent infringement lawsuit against a corporation in any district in which the corporation is subject to personal jurisdiction.” In an 8–0 decision, the Court answered that question in the negative, holding that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute.” (Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate in this case.)

Please contact any member of Fitch Even’s litigation team with questions concerning this decision.

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