For the past 30 years, it has been established patent practice for a patent holder to bring suit in any district where infringing sales were made. This has led to the Eastern District of Texas being one of the preferred venues of choice for many patent plaintiffs. However, the days of such forum shopping may be over. In a recent unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly tightened the requirements for venue in patent infringement lawsuits.
The decision, TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, requires that patent holders now must file suit in districts where the defendant is incorporated or where they have a regular and established place of business, a far more restrictive standard than in any district where infringing sales were made. The decision, which was cheered by technology industry groups, spells trouble for patent trolls, who have long used the specter of suit in unfavorable jurisdictions to threaten defendants.