February 07, 2017

American Bar Association submits amicus brief in TC Heartland patent case

CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2017 — At the request of its Section of Intellectual Property Law, the American Bar Association has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the petitioner in United States Supreme Court TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, No. 16-341 (“TC Heartland”). The ABA’s brief urges the Supreme Court to conclude that the special patent venue statute limits venue for a corporate defendant to either where the defendant resides or where it has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business. Such a conclusion would reverse the holdings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has, for the last 27 years, interpreted patent venue law to allow patent infringement actions to be filed nationwide. 


Ironically, the broadened interpretation of the patent venue laws has led to severe concentration of patent litigation.  Nearly half of all patent cases are now filed in just two judicial districts, and nearly 25 percent are filed before one judge in the Eastern District of Texas. This has had numerous adverse effects on patent law and practice, such as depriving patent law of the diversity of viewpoints necessary for a healthy and robust common law. And this increase in forum shopping has undermined public confidence in the fundamental fairness of the patent system and the courts, and risks diminishing the credibility of the bar.

To address these problems, the ABA, pursuant to a policy adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in the summer of 2016, filed its amicus brief in the TC Heartland case urging the Supreme Court to conclude that the special patent venue should not be given the expansive definition applied by the Federal Circuit.

You can view the full brief online here.

The 20,000-member ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law provides the highest quality information, analysis and practice tools to intellectual property lawyers, and serves as the thoughtful source of information and commentary for policy makers as they consider legislation affecting the law and regulations in intellectual property matters. The section is respected and known as the premier resource for knowledge in this increasingly important and complex area of law.

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