Foreign Companies Are Subject to Patent Infringement Lawsuits In Any Judicial District

Subsequent to the Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland, some foreign corporations were advancing the contention that venue for patent infringement lawsuits naming them as a defendant was not proper in any court in the United States. Today, the Federal Circuit addressed that contention in In re: HTC Corporation, ruling that foreign corporations are subject to suit in any judicial district. This ruling will likely give patent owners more flexibility in deciding where they file patent infringement cases against foreign companies. Whether there is any appreciable increase in patent cases filed in Delaware, the Eastern District of Virginia, the Eastern District of Texas or other particular venues remains to be seen. In the underlying case, HTC Corporation, a Taiwanese corporation, asked the District Court in Delaware to dismiss a patent infringement case filed against it, arguing that venue was improper in Delaware. The District Court held that HTC Corp, as a foreign corporation, was subject to suit in any judicial district. The Federal Circuit looked at the patent venue statue (28 U.S.C. Sec. 1400), the general venue statute (28 U.S.C. Sec. 1391), legislative histories, and prior Supreme Court decisions, and determined there was no error in the District Court’s analysis.