With the U.S. Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision narrowing where infringement lawsuits can be filed, attorneys say patent owners may now have to spread their enforcement efforts over multiple venues with less experienced judges, a more expensive prospect that could lead to conflicting results.
Until last month’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Brands Group, patent owners enjoyed nearly three decades where they could sue alleged infringers anywhere the defendants made sales. It wasn’t uncommon to see plaintiffs file lawsuits against numerous defendants over the same patent, or the same group of patents, in a single court.
But after TC Heartland, patent owners may find themselves having to travel to courts around the country to assert the same patent.
“My experience in some of the other jurisdictions in the country, especially those that just don’t get very many patent cases, is that they go slower because there’s a lot more education of the judges involved,” said Glenn Forbis of Harness IP & Pierce PLC.
“I also expect generally that judges who are less comfortable in the patent area will be less likely to grant summary judgments and will be more likely to let cases go to the jury because they’re just not as comfortable making those decisions,” he added.