On March 17, 2016, the “Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016” (VENUE Act) was introduced to the U. S. Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The bill’s main goal is to prevent plaintiffs from filing lawsuits in states where neither the plaintiff nor the defendant has a “regular and established” physical presence.
The proposed VENUE Act consists of three sections (A, B and C). Section A is an amendment to the current venue statute in patent infringement cases. This amendment replaces the provision “Any civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business” (in Title 28) with more complex and nuanced tests that emphasize the importance of “regular and established” physical facilities and other nexus to a venue.
For example, venue will be allowed (1) where the defendant has its principal place of business or is incorporated; or (2) where the defendant has committed an act of infringement and has a regular and established physical facility that gives rise to the act of infringement; or (3) where an inventor named on the patent in suit conducted research or development that led to the application for the patent in suit; or (4) where a party has a regular and established physical facility that such party controls and operates, not primarily for the purpose of creating venue, and has implemented a claimed manufacturing process for a tangible good.
Section B provides for immediate mandamus review for defendants who feel that the district court erroneously denied their motion to transfer or dismiss.
Section C of the proposed VENUE Act provides that a teleworkers’ residence and a manufacturer’s retail facility do not constitute a “physical facility” as that term is used in Section A of the VENUE Act. The term “retailer” is also defined but not used anywhere in the VENUE Act. “Retailer” is used in the proposed Innovation Act (under consideration in the House.)
Because the VENUE Act is focused on the narrow issue of venue in patent cases, it is expected not to be strongly opposed in either the House or the Senate.
For the complete text of the VENUE Act see here.