Houston Intellectual Property Blog

Supreme Court Ruling Will Impact Where Patent Cases Are Heard

On behalf of Keeling Law, LLC posted in 4 on Jun 1, 2017.

Where a patent case is heard can be extremely relevant to the eventual outcome of the case. Traditionally, patent infringement cases could be filed in any federal district court where the defendant conducted business. This enabled plaintiffs to “shop” for the best venue to try their case. A recent Supreme Court Ruling may stop this “forum shopping” maneuver and could dramatically change the way patent infringement cases are pursued.

Favorable Results Have Created Patent Case Hot Spots

The Eastern District of Texas has been a favorite district to bring patent infringement cases for some time due to the fact that cases proceed quickly there and juries there have proven to be open to awarding large sums to patent plaintiffs. The past performance of the courts in that district has attracted an inordinate percentage of all of the patent infringement cases in the United States. More than 25 percent of all patent infringement cases are heard in this district. 

Previously Cases Could Be Filed Across The Nation

The Supreme Court ruled on May 21, 2017 that patent holders must sue companies in districts where they are incorporated, or in districts where they have a regular place of business and have committed infringing acts. Given that relatively few companies are headquartered in or regularly conduct business in the Eastern District of Texas, this will prevent a great number of patent infringement cases from being heard in that district. This may result in an increase in patent infringement case filings in other venues like Delaware that are popular homes to corporations.


How Is This Going To Impact Patent Infringement Cases?

Such a drastic change in the rules under which patent rights are asserted will undoubtedly affect the filing of patent infringement suits. Other federal districts, faced with a significant increase in such cases, may adopt expedited docket procedures like those the Eastern District of Texas has implemented. While these courts are trying to adapt the necessary procedural changes, however, a backlog of cases may develop. In addition, plaintiffs may be wary of encountering juries less likely to award large sums. Accordingly, this change in venue law could result in a new mindset for patent owners trying to decide if litigation is the right decision.

Staying Abreast Of Developments That Affect Our Clients’ Businesses

A key to effective representation in intellectual property and other legal matters is staying current with the ever-evolving state of the law. This recent Supreme Court ruling should be taken into consideration in planning your business strategies.

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