U.S. Supreme Court Limits Forum Shopping in Patent Infringement Actions

Saturday, June 3, 2017

In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court held that a domestic corporation “resides” for venue purposes in a patent infringement action only in its State of incorporation.  In reaching its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed 30 years of Federal Circuit precedent.  Interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), the Court held that venue (i.e., a geographic location of a court or courts in which a lawsuit may be brought) “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 Supreme Court’s decision should severely reduce plaintiff “forum shopping” to forums generally viewed as patent friendly, such as the Eastern District of Texas, and seemingly would increase the quantity of cases filed in Delaware, where many corporations are incorporated and thus “reside” for venue purposes. TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC, No. 16-341, ___ U.S. ___ (May 22, 2017) .