May 2017: Location of Patent Infringement Suits

In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1400, a patent infringement suit may only be brought in a jurisdiction where the defendant resides or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.  For over two decades, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has indicated that a defendant “resides” essentially anywhere that a defendant does business, even if that business was very minimal and even when the defendant did not have offices in the area.  In recent years, this resulted in plaintiffs bringing most patent infringement cases against defendants in venues which were perceived as pro-plaintiff, such as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

In the case of TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Brands LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, asserting that the Supreme Court’s earlier 1957 Fourco Glass decision remained good law.  That decision indicated that a defendant only “resides” where it is incorporated.  Thus, plaintiff’s may now only bring patent infringement actions against a defendant where the defendant is incorporated or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.

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