Oblon Files Brief with Supreme Court Outlining Venue Abuses of Patent Trolls

February 8, 2017

Oblon Files Brief with Supreme Court Outlining Venue Abuses of Patent Trolls

In TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC., the high court is considering whether the Federal Circuit went too far in liberalizing the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).  This statute provides that patent infringement actions “may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides . . . .” The statute governing “[v]enue generally,” 28 U.S.C. § 1391, has long contained a subsection (c) that, where applicable, deems a corporate entity to reside in multiple judicial districts. In Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957), the Supreme Court held that §1400(b) is not to be supplemented by § 1391(c), and that as applied to corporate entities, the phrase “where the defendant resides” in § 1400(b) “mean[s] the state of incorporation only.” Id. at 226. The Court’s opinion concluded: “We hold that 28 U.S.C. §1400(b) is the sole and exclusive provision controlling venue in patent infringement actions, and that it is not to be supplemented by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c).” Id. at 229.

Since that time, the Federal Circuit has seemingly strayed away from the Fourco ruling.  This has allowed many patent trolls to file cases in out-of-the-way courts such as the EDTX court in Marshall, Texas.  The brief filed by Oblon, for its client Unified Patents outlines these significant abuses and seeks and end to this unfortunate era in U.S. Patent law.

Resources