Supreme Court Hears Patent Venue Case; Congressional Action Still Needed

March 27, 2017

Washington — The Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case that could prevent some patent trolls from bringing lawsuits to excessively patent-friendly courts like the Eastern District of Texas. The TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods case is being closely watched by many industries from retailers to technology who are looking to the high court to rein in this misuse of the patent system.

Two-fifths of all patent cases are brought to Texas partly to encourage defendants to settle due to a combination of travel costs, the backlog of cases, high up front costs of court procedures and a small town that advertises plaintiff friendly juries.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed an amicus brief with retailers and other industry arguing that the court should narrowly interpret the patent venue statute to prevent forum shopping.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

The high court has a chance to help rein in decades of misuse of the patent system by taking away a key tool for patent trolls – venue shopping. We hope they use it.

“It’s been four years since an economic study showed that patent troll lawsuits cost companies $29 billion a year. Congress has offered legislation, but has not passed a bill in spite of bipartisan support. If this case could help curb the abuse of our patent system when it comes to venue shopping that would be a good step, but Congress still needs to step up. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Hatch to curb patent abuse and urge his colleagues to support him.”

For more background on this issue, see Black’s Huffington Post op-ed here.

 

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