SIIA Urges Supreme Court to Restore Patent Fairness by Addressing Blatant Forum Shopping

For Immediate Release
SIIA Communications Contact: Diane Pinto, 202.789.4480, dpinto@siia.net

SIIA Urges Supreme Court to Restore Patent Fairness by Addressing Blatant Forum Shopping

 

Washington, DC (October 19, 2016) – The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) has joined with Dell Computer Company to urge the United States Supreme Court to restore balance in the American patent system by reversing the lower court ruling in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Brands Group, LLC.  Dell and SIIA filed an Amici Curie brief that underscores how patent venue shopping has become a core part of the abusive legal practices of patent trolls, and calls on the court to reverse the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Because of a previous Federal Circuit decision, national firms can theoretically be sued anywhere in the country. The reality, however, is that most patent lawsuits by so-called “trolls” end up in one of two judicial districts. The brief argues, “The rampant and unseemly forum shopping that has followed [that decision] imposes outsized costs on innovation. According patentees an unbounded choice of forum for their infringement actions…imposes significant costs on technology companies that bring value-creating products to market.”  It goes on to say that the lower court decision in TC Heartland, "perpetuates—indeed, cements—that free-for-all."

“Blatant forum shopping is one of the most potent weapons in the patent troll arsenal,” said Chris Mohr, Vice President for Intellectual Property and General Counsel.  “The incentives created by the Federal Circuit rule have forced highly productive, job-creating companies in the hardware and software business, and others, to settle patent suits that are utterly meritless. SIIA’s member companies are not alone in this struggle—retailers, publishers, and many other businesses face the same drain of litigating cases in a jurisdiction that has no relationship to the parties, but whose rules favor plaintiffs. The resulting negative impact on innovation, costs and jobs was never intended by Congress. With this brief, we are imploring the Supreme Court to take this opportunity to correct the Federal Circuit’s misreading of the venue statute and restore fairness to the system.”

The brief was filed on Monday, October 17th and can be found here.