TC Heartland: A Deep-Dive Into Next-Level Issues for Companies in an Integrated Economy
With its May 22, 2017, decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decades-old Federal Circuit rule that effectively allowed a patent holder to file suit anywhere a defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction (e.g., through alleged infringing sales). The U.S. Supreme Court held that a domestic corporation “resides” only in its state of incorporation for purposes of patent venue. The decision creates a more restrictive regime and could force numerous lawsuits out of particular jurisdictions, such as the Eastern District of Texas.
Beyond the immediate consequences of the decision, numerous questions remain that could have significant implications for many companies. Particularly for global businesses headquartered outside of the U.S., the implications may be quite complex and will require careful consideration when developing defensive and offensive litigation strategies.