On Monday May 22, the Supreme Court ruled on the much-anticipated decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, a case that many viewed as having the potential to upend the question of patent venue in patent litigation. In a unanimous decision (8-0, Justice Gorsuch took no part in this case), the Court ruled in favor of TC Heartland, stating that, “a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute.”
As we have mentioned in previous articles (Venue for Patent Infringement Suits to Be Decided by Supreme Court and Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods), TC Heartland first moved to transfer Kraft Food’s infringement suit against it from Delaware to the Southern District of Indiana, where TC Heartland is based. Both the District Court of Delaware and the Federal Circuit rejected these requests. The question of patent venue was then brought to the Supreme Court, where oral arguments were heard on March 27, 2017. The Supreme Court has now spoken.
This decision will have profound effects on the issue of patent litigation and where patent infringement cases are heard. More importantly, it also means that the Eastern District of Texas will no longer be the center of patent litigation it has become in recent years. Although it is difficult to predict where cases will be heard, it is likely that the District of Delaware will see an increase given the number of companies that are incorporated in that district.