Supreme Court Limits Patent Venue

The Supreme Court limited venue for patent infringement actions in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, No. 16-341 (U.S. May 22, 2017). Reversing the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court unanimously held that "resides" for the purpose of a domestic defendant corporation in patent litigation means its state of incorporation. Thus, patent owners can only bring a patent infringement suit in a judicial district where the alleged infringer: (a) is incorporated or (b) both has committed acts of infringement and has a "regular and established place of business."

The decision is expected to limit suits against domestic corporations brought in the Eastern District of Texas, and expand the number of suits brought in the District of New Jersey, where many entities are based, and the District of Delaware, where many entities are incorporated. The Court declined to address venue for foreign corporations, which presently can be sued in any judicial district.