The United States Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC stating that corporate ‘residence’ refers only to the state of incorporation. The patent venue statute, 28 U. S. C. §1400(b), provides that “[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.” This decision will likely have a significant effect on the number of cases filed in Texas, which saw 37% of all patent cases in 2016.
The unanimous decision, TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC (link) related to the venue clause quoted above in the patent statue and the more general venue provision of 28 U. S. C. §1391(c) which has more general requires for venue and the Supreme Court’s earlier decision on this issue Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U. S. 222, 226 (1957):
The issue in this case is whether that definition supplants the definition announced in Fourco and allows a plaintiff to bring a patent infringement lawsuit against a corporation in any district in which the corporation is subject to personal jurisdiction. We conclude that the amendments to §1391 did not modify the meaning of §1400(b) as interpreted by Fourco. We therefore hold that a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute.
After considering the historical evolution of the sections and its earlier decision, the court concluded:
As applied to domestic corporations, “reside[nce]” in §1400(b) refers only to the State of incorporation. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
For the last while, the Eastern District of Texas has seen a disproportionate number of patent proceedings (from Lex Machina):
The Eastern District of Texas continues to lead the nation with 1,662 cases – nearly 37% of all cases filed, yet a 34% decrease over the district’s 2015 total (2,541 cases)
- Of that number, 1,119 cases were brought before Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who saw more new patent cases than the next 10 highest-ranking judges
- This is the fourth year in a row that Judge Gilstrap had more patent cases of any judge
Dennis Crouch of Patently-O suggests that the result will be more litigation in Delaware and more multi-district litigation.