On April 29, 2016, the Federal Circuit in In re: TC Heartland LLC denied defendant’s petition for a writ of mandamus and, in so doing, declined to place new restrictions on venue for patent infringement cases.
In its petition to the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus, TC Heartland argued that Congress’s 2011 amendments to the general venue statute (28 U.S.C. § 1391) effectively overruled the Federal Circuit’s 1990 VE Holdings decision, which held that the definition of corporate residence in the general venue statute applied to the patent venue statute (28 U.S.C. § 1400). The effect of VE Holdings was to allow patent infringement lawsuits to be filed in any district where the defendant makes sales. TC Heartland argued that this holding was overruled by the 2011 amendments, and that patent lawsuits could only properly be filed where the defendant is incorporated or has its principal place of business and has allegedly infringed.
The Federal Circuit denied the petition and held that the 2011 amendments were minor and broadened the applicability of the definition of corporate residence. The court found no evidence to support TC Heartland’s contentions that Congress and the Supreme Court had effectively overruled VE Holdings, and held that where a defendant “resides” for purposes of venue in patent cases continues to be defined by the general venue statute.
In re: TC Heartland LLC, Case No. 2016-105 (Fed. Cir. April 29, 2016).