TC Heartland, LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: December 14, 2016
  • Case #: 16-341
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 821 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2016)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the patent venue statute, 28 USC § 1400(b), is the sole and exclusive venue statute for patent infringement cases, or whether it is supplemented by the venue statute 28 USC § 1391?

Respondent initiated suit against Petitioner for patent infringement in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Respondent's state of organization and principle place of business. Petitioner moved to dismiss the suit on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction while also moving to transfer venue to the Southern District of Indiana, the state of Petitioner's organization and headquarters. The Federal Circuit denied the motion, finding that minimum contacts existed between Petitioner and the State of Delaware, because Petitioner had shipped the accused products into Delaware pursuant to contracts it had with two national accounts. On appeal, Petitioner argues that the Federal Circuit erred by applying the general venue statute of 28 USC § 1391 instead of applying 28 USC § 400(b), the patent venue statute that requires patent infringement actions to be brought in the jurisdiction in which the defendant resides. Petitioner argues that the Federal Circuit was incorrect because its decision was contrary to the Supreme Court's holding in Fourco Glass Co, that held that § 400(b) was the exclusive patent infringement venue statute and that, in the corporate context, "resides" means state of incorporation. Petitioner asserts that the Federal Circuit was incorrect in applying § 1391 on the basis that recent amendments to § 1391 changed the exclusive effect of § 400(b).

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