Brief of 22 Law, Economics, and Business Professors As Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods
29 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017 Last revised: 14 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 8, 2017
TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, currently pending at the U.S Supreme Court, concerns where patent owners can file suit against corporate defendants. This amicus brief considers and analyzes the policy issues at stake in this case. It concludes that the current venue rule, which allows patent owners to sue corporate defendants in any district in which personal jurisdiction lies, should be retained. First, rigorous empirical analysis shows that limiting venue in the manner proposed by the Petitioner in this case would not have any meaningful effect on the existing concentration of patent cases among the lower courts. Instead, it would primarily shift patent cases from one jurisdiction that is relatively favorable to patent owners to two jurisdictions that are relatively less favorable. Second, Congress has effectively rejected concerns over “forum shopping” and “forum selling” in adopting a statutory venue rule that corporate defendants in nearly every type of federal civil case may be sued anywhere personal jurisdiction lies. This rule is sensible, because corporate defendants should be subject to suit where they have committed substantial harmful acts. There is no reliable, systematic evidence to show that “forum shopping” or “forum selling” in patent law is exceptional when compared to other areas of law so as to justify a special venue rule. Third, even if patent suits were exceptional, only Congress is in a position to craft a rule that meaningfully distributes cases among the various district courts and that is equitable to patent owners and accused infringers alike.
Keywords: patents, patent litigation, venue, personal jurisdiction, forum shopping, forum selling
JEL Classification: O34, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation