The USITC: where patent venue has no name


Patrick McCarthy

The USITC: where patent venue has no name

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As the US Supreme Court’s TC Heartland ruling continues to reshape the patent litigation landscape, patent owners may start seeking alternatives, including the International Trade Commission, says Patrick McCarthy of Goodwin.

In May 2017 the US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v Kraft Foods Group Brands came down. This ruling overturned years of Federal Circuit precedent related to “venue” in patent cases. “Venue” controls which jurisdiction is proper when bringing patent litigation against domestic companies. In the wake of this decision, many cases are being diverted away from perceived patent-friendly courthouses and towards defendants’ home turf.

As patent holders explore potential alternatives, they may find that the International Trade Commission (ITC), where venue is of no concern, is best situated to hear their cases.

Over the course of many years, an entire patent litigation ecosystem blossomed in the Eastern of District of Texas. Non-practising entities opened offices. Vendors serviced the daily courtroom flow. Restaurants catered to hungry advocates, and hotels were filled rooms with trial teams. By 2017, virtually all patent litigators in the country were intimately familiar with Marshall—a Texas town two to three hours outside of Dallas with little more than 20,000 residents.

patent, US Supreme Cout, USITC, International Trade Commission, ITC, patent litigation, Eastern District of Texas, non-practicing entities