February 07, 2017 Articles

TC Heartland, the VENUE Act, and the Direction of Patent Law

The focus should be on strengthening patent rights—the legal incentives that drive innovation

By Benjamin J. Christoff

In recent years, the strength of the patent right has been diminished, largely through a combination of legislation and Supreme Court decisions. Currently there is a push—both before the Supreme Court and in Congress—to change the venue rules in favor of defendants in patent cases. This article provides an overview of TC Heartland LLC's (Heartland's) appeal to the Supreme Court following the issuance of In re TC Heartland, 821 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2016), as well as the Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016 (VENUE Act) currently being considered by Congress. This article then suggests it is time to begin strengthening the patent right once again to preserve a robust incentive for innovation and disclosure of useful inventions for the public's benefit.

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