Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.

Supreme Court Decision Deals a Blow to Patent Trolls

Since the 1990s, the Eastern District of Texas has been the preferred hunting ground for patent trolls. Judges in that district have been friendly to those who hold patents they never intend to use outside of litigation, so nearly 45 percent of patent infringement suits were filed there in 2015. But thanks to a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Eastern District of Texas’s time in the patent litigation limelight may be coming to an end. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, the Supreme Court ruled that defendants should face patent litigation in the state in which they’re incorporated. For instance, if you wanted to sue Apple or many other tech companies for patent infringement, you’d have to do so in California. Courts in other states won’t be as friendly to patent trolls, so this Supreme Court decision may have the side effect of reducing frivolous patent lawsuits.favicon follow link

 

Comments about Supreme Court Decision Deals a Blow to Patent Trolls
(Comments are closed.)

This court ruling is widely misunderstood. In fact it does not state that all cases must be heard in the state in which the defendant resides. The wording is confusing, but the short story is that it doesn't change much of anything as far as tech patent troll filings.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-28 10:03
Can you provide specific quotes to support your contention?

This would seem to be pretty clear:

"We therefore hold that a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute."

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-341_8n59.pdf
If you read the entire Court Findings in the PDF you linked to, it's pretty clear. The quote you're using is referring simply to the clarification of what the word "resides" means.

Common sense tells you that what you think this case means is not what it means. If it did, Apple would only be able to be sued in Cupertino, CA by a company who also "resides" in Cupertino, CA, over a patent being abused in Cupertino, CA.

Anyway, I'm sure some patent troll will file suit soon for some B.S. patent... at that point this court ruling will have heavy light shed upon it.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-05-29 13:06
Why is it a problem that Apple could only be sued in the state of California? That doesn't seem like an unreasonable expectation. And it seems like it's a trend for the U.S. Supreme Court:

http://www.lockelord.com/where-can-your-company-be-sued-02-07-2014