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TC Heartland Will Shift More Litigation To The District of Delaware

Posted on May 25, 2017 in Blog

On Monday, May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC, drastically changing where patent infringement cases can be litigated in the United States.  The Court’s decision focused on the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), which states “[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.”  In TC Heartland, the Court rejected the argument that § 1400(b) incorporates the broader definition of corporate “residence” contained in the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c), holding that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation.”

The Court’s decision will result in a reduction in the number of patent cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas and likely result in a dramatic increase in the number of patent cases brought before the District of Delaware, where many of the largest and most often sued companies are incorporated.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the TC Heartland decision, and how it may affect litigation before the District of Delaware, please call our Delaware office at 302-544-9100.

– By R Touhey Myer

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