Posts Tagged: "venue"

Venue Options for Patent Owners After TC Heartland and In re Cray

With venue for patent infringement actions under § 1400(b) narrowed after TC Heartland and In re Cray, patent owners could use declaratory judgment (DJ) actions to secure their desired venue because venue in DJ actions is governed by § 1391. The Declaratory Judgment Act provides federal courts with the authority to “declare the rights and other legal relations of any interested party” where an “actual controversy” exists. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201–02… The ITC offers patent owners yet another venue option outside of § 1400(b).

TC Heartland Update: Decision Changed the Law on Venue

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued its decision in In re Micron Tech., Inc., Case No. 2017-138 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2017), and resolved a question that had divided district courts and commentators throughout the United States following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017):  Did TC Heartland change the law of venue in patent cases such that a party’s failure to raise a venue defense in its initial responsive pleading could be excused?  The Federal Circuit held: “We conclude that TC Heartland changed the controlling law in the relevant sense: at the time of the initial motion to dismiss, before the Court decided TC Heartland, the venue defense now raised by Micron (and others) based on TC Heartland’s interpretation of the venue statute was not “available,” thus making the waiver rule . . . inapplicable.”

Federal Circuit Finds TC Heartland Changed Controlling Law, Can Be Applied Retroactively

Arguing against Micron’s motion to dismiss, Harvard contended that TC Heartland only affirmed a previous precedent set by SCOTUS and that the improper venue challenge was available to Micron back when it filed its first motion in August 2016… The Federal Circuit concluded that the TC Heartland decision “changed controlling law in the relevant sense” and thus the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the patent venue statute was not available to Micron at the time of its August 2016 motion to dismiss.concluded that the TC Heartland decision “changed controlling law in the relevant sense” and thus the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the patent venue statute was not available to Micron at the time of its August 2016 motion to dismiss.

Importance of Motions to Stay in Modern Patent Litigation

The TC Heartland decision follows the trend of eroding patent holder rights due to the potential for infringers to more easily move the lawsuit to a more favorable forum and in some cases have the issues of infringement and discovery for same stayed for a year or more.  As patents and mechanisms to enforce patents become weaker, the high-tech economy of Northern California will begin to diminish as foreign companies encounter fewer obstacles in their way to compete against companies with weaker IP rights… Because so much hinges on a stay motion in modern patent litigation cases, this predominant statistic influences where plaintiffs should consider filing their patent complaint.

Adjusting to patent litigation in the Northern District of California

My sense is that non-practicing entities had long ago eliminated the Northern District as a potential venue for patent cases. But if and when there is an influx of cases to the Northern District of California, litigators who predominantly practice in Texas will have to make adjustments. While perhaps not as regimented as some other districts, the Northern District expects litigants to know the local rules and strictly comply with them, particularly for things like sealing motions that can be complicated procedurally… Unlike in Texas, technology tutorials in the Northern District are expected to be live. Attorneys need to be prepared for the judge to ask questions. They also need to make sure that the members of the team most familiar with the technology are present and ready to address any issues that may come up.

FREE Webinar: Hot Topics in Patent Litigation

A multitude of changes to patent law and practice have altered the face of patent litigation in America. From patent venue decisions in district courts that seem to be inconsistent with TC Heartland, to Indian Tribes acquiring patents and asserting sovereign immunity, the patent enforcement and defense landscape has changed dramatically over the past few months. Amidst these changing times, please join Gene Quinn for a free webinar webinar discussion – Hot Topics in Patent Litigation – on Thursday, October 12, 2017, at 12pm ET. Gene will be joined by former ITC Commissioner F. Scott Kieff and Keith Grady, Chair of IP and Technology Litigation at Polsinelli.

Denying TC Heartland Changed the Law on Venue Ignores Reality

On May 22, 2017, in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC, 137 S.Ct. 1514 (2017), the Supreme Court held that patent venue is controlled exclusively by 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), which restricts venue in patent cases to (1) where the Defendant resides, or (2) where the Defendant commits an act of infringement and has a regular and established place of business. The decision was immediately hailed by commentators as a significant break with past precedent… Despite the common perception of practitioners that the TC Heartland decision changed the law of venue in patent cases, the majority of district courts to address this issue have come to the opposite conclusion, finding that the decision merely reaffirmed existing law and could not excuse the failure to raise the defense earlier. The reasoning of these decisions is questionable, as is the refusal of these courts to recognize how dramatically TC Heartland changed the landscape for patent litigation.

Senate Republicans discuss patent reform in private briefing with infringer lobby

The Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force convened in order to hear from patent experts on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland, the IPR process and patent eligibility, and to discuss what Congress can do in terms of additional patent reform in order to improve the U.S. patent system… The Hatch op-ed would seem to be music to the ears of beleaguered patent owners in the life science and computer implemented innovation areas. The problem, however, is with those the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force heard from during this private meeting.

Employees working from home do not establish place of business for venue under TC Heartland

In re Cray, Inc., the Federal Circuit applied the recent Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision to grant a writ of mandamus, directing the Eastern District of Texas to transfer Raytheon’s patent case to a proper venue. The district court refused the transfer based on notions of targeting the district for a benefit, according to a four-part test it adapted from In re Cordis Corp. The Federal Circuit disagreed, holding that the listed criteria were not sufficiently tethered to the relevant statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b)… In determining venue in a patent infringement case, the location of defendant’s employees who work from home is not a regular and established place of defendant’s business when the defendant corporation has no material connection to that place, as by rent, inventory, conditioning employment based on the location, or other relevant facts.

Federal Circuit strikes down Gilstrap’s four-factor test for patent venue

After briefly parsing the statutory language of §1400(b) critical to the decision the Federal Circuit concluded that Judge Gilstrap’s four-factor test was not compliant with the statutory language. Judge Lourie simply concluded: “The district court’s four-factor test is not sufficiently tethered to this statutory language and thus it fails to inform each of the necessary requirements of the statute.”… “The fact that Cray allowed its employees to work from the Eastern District of Texas is insufficient,” wrote Judge Lourie as he shifted to the specifics of the case before the Court.

Judge Paul Michel presents supplemental testimony on PTAB reforms to the House IP subcommittee

To fix the current incarnation of the U.S. patent system and reinvigorate the American economy, Judge Michel called upon the House IP subcommittee to adopt seven specific action items. Five of the action items relate to improvements to patent law for the strengthening of patent rights while optimizing PTAB procedures already in place, while two other action items focus on the administration of the USPTO.

What Changes Result from the Supreme Court Decision in TC Heartland?

Unfortunately, the answer may be not as much as many expected. Right after the decision there were 350 motions to transfer or dismiss in the EDTX. But the limitations imposed by TC Heartland have been called into question by a ruling from EDTX Judge Rodney Gilstrap in Raytheon Co. v. Cray Inc. In his decision, Gilstrap denied a motion by Cray seeking to transfer the case to another district in light of TC Heartland. Gilstrap found that the existence of a single employee in the district constituted “regular and established place of business,” and he established a four-factor test to decide whether newer cases belong in the district… As hopeful as some folks were about TC Heartland, it certainly hasn’t stopped NPEs. The IP community must acknowledge this and adjust accordingly – it’s still the wild west out there, for now.

Raytheon, Nokia, Ericsson ask Federal Circuit to deny Cray mandamus on denied motion to transfer venue

Raytheon, Nokia and Ericsson all filed briefs with the Federal Circuit encouraging the court to decline the Cray mandamus on a motion to transfer from EDTX… Cray is asking the Federal Circuit to decide two issues: did the Eastern Texas court err in holding that a “regular and established place of business” need not be a physical presence; and did the district court err in determining that the residence of a single work-from-home employee constitutes a “regular and established place of business” of his employer.

Lex Machina’s Q2 litigation update shows trends influenced by TC Heartland and Oil States

During the second quarter of 2017, a total of 1,138 patent cases were filed at the U.S. district court level, an increase of 18 percent when compared to first quarter filings. However, that uptick in patent suits between the first and second quarters of 2017 repeats a trend which has played out since 2013. Compared to the second quarter of 2016, patent case filings were actually down 7 percent on a year-over-year basis. From the beginning of 2016 through the end of 2017, U.S. district courts have seen some of the lowest levels of patent litigation in district courts on a quarterly basis. Interestingly, the Lex Machina update shows a significant decline in case filings in the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.) correlating strongly with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, a case which restricted the statute on proper venue for patent infringement cases.

ABOTA defends Judge Gilstrap in response to political pressure from Darrell Issa

Issa decried Judge Gilstrap’s “overreach” in denying a motion to transfer venue in a case coming after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, a decision which restricted the venue statute for patent infringement cases. “It is, in fact, an act that I find reprehensible by that judge,” Issa said… American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) noted that Issa’s further assertion that Judge Gilstrap was motivated by personal bias to promote community interests “extended beyond a challenge of the legal precedent to a personal attack on Judge Gilstrap and his integrity as a jurist.”