Patent Venue Rules Tested

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a ruling in May 2017 limiting the places a U.S. company can be sued. This could generate a myriad of legal conflicts in the future, while creating various limitations for patent owners. According to federal law, patent venue laws state that lawsuits can be filed at either the location where the defendant lives or where the defendant performs business at. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Brands Group, the Supreme Court determined in May 2017, deciding the word “resides” means the place of incorporation. Supreme Court justices also announced that their finding is only applicable to domestic corporations.

Nothing should change for foreign defendants as of now, but in the long run, challenges may arise for venue rules concerning foreign defendants. Experts are speculating that plaintiffs may attempt to target only the foreign parent of a company when a foreign potential defendant has a subsidiary in the United States.

Due to venue controversies, impacts on company decisions are highly anticipated. It is recommended that all growing businesses in the U.S. have a set place of business. The Federal law pertaining to patent venue says that wherever a defendant resides, a lawsuit can be filed. As well as anywhere an infringement has taken place, and a business has an established and regular place of operation. Now that U.S. companies are limited on where they can be sued, there may be many challenges to come for non- U.S. defendants.

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