U.S. SUPREME COURT NARROWS PATENT VENUE

TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC, 581 U.S. ____ (2017) (slip op.).

On May 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court put tighter restrictions on where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits, upending nearly 30 years of established practice allowing patent infringement actions to be filed in any state where the District Court could assert jurisdiction.  The Court held in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC that as applied to domestic corporations, “reside[nce]” in the patent venue statue, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), refers only to the State of incorporation.  Accordingly, patent actions may now be filed only in the State of incorporation of the Defendant or where the “Defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.”  This ruling is expected to increase the volume of patent matters brought in the District of Delaware, in which Smith, Katzenstein & Jenkins LLP maintains an active practice serving as Delaware counsel to the nation’s preeminent law firms.