Thursday, June 29, 2017

TC Heartland Does Not Qualify as Intervening Change of Law Excusing Waiver of § 1400(b) Venue Challenge​

Following the recent Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017), the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss or transfer plaintiff's patent infringement action for improper venue two months before trial because TC Heartland was not an intervening change in law. "[Defendant's] argument . . . appears to be that following the decision in [VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co., 917 F.2d 1574 (Fed. Cir. 1990)] in 1990 up until the Supreme Court decided TC Heartland in May of 2017, the highest authority available had deemed [Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957)] overridden by congressional action, and accordingly the Supreme Court’s reaffirming of Fourco constituted a change of law. . . . [E]xcept where congressional abrogation of a Supreme Court decision is express, 'only [the Supreme] Court may overrule one of its precedents' -- whether through its own opinion or recognition of congressional override -- and until that occurs, Fourco is and still was the law. . . . The intervening twenty-seven years may have created reliance on VE Holding by litigants, including [defendant], but that 'does not change the harsh reality' that a party could have 'ultimately succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to reaffirm Fourco, just as the petitioner in TC Heartland did.'”

iLife Technologies, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., 3-13-cv-04987 (TXND June 27, 2017, Order) (Lynn, USDJ)

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