The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put tighter restrictions on where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits, a decision that upends nearly 30 years of established practice and will likely force many lawsuits out of the patent litigation hotbed of the Eastern District of Texas.
In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a Federal Circuit rule that effectively allowed a patent holder to file suit anywhere a defendant makes sales, which critics complained has fueled a plague of forum shopping and a concentration of cases in a few jurisdictions.
Ruling in favor of liquid sweetener maker TC Heartland LLC, the justices reinstated a more restrictive standard from a 1957 Supreme Court decision, saying it remained good law.
“We therefore hold that a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute,” the court wrote.
The case is TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Brands Group LLC, case number 16-341, in the Supreme Court of the United States.