Brown Wegner McNamara LLP weighs in on the Supreme Court’s landmark T.C. Heartland decision

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  • May 22, 2017

The United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in T.C. Heartland, LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC (Case No. 16-341) addressed the venue rules in patent infringement cases. As counsel for the Orange County Intellectual Property Law Association, Brown Wegner McNamara LLP filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting the petitioner. The Firm argued that, properly construed, 28 U.S.C. section 1400(b) is the sole and exclusive provision governing venue in patent infringement actions, and that as a result, a corporate defendant may only be sued in the district in which it “resides—not any state in which it may be subject to personal jurisdiction. On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court agreed with petitioner’s and the Firm’s position, holding in an 8-0 decision that a domestic corporation “resides” only in the state of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute, and that plaintiff in a patent infringement case therefore is not entitled to bring suit against a corporate defendant in any district in which the defendant happens to be subject to personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s holding in TC Heartland signals the end of a decades-old filing practice that saw the majority of the country’s patent infringement lawsuits concentrated in a few districts (most famously, the Eastern District of Texas). Read the Firm’s amicus brief, and the Supreme Court’s opinion in TC Heartland.

Following the opinion, Bill Brown discussed TC Heartland on a telephonic panel. The podcast of Bill’s telephonic panel discussion is available here: http://www.fed-soc.org/multimedia/detail/courthouse-steps-decision-tc-heartland-llc-v-kraft-foods-group-brands-llc-podcast

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