Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods that limits the venue — i.e., geographical location–of where patent cases may be brought.  For decades prior to this decision, venue was construed broadly to be essentially anywhere a defendant has minimum contacts.  By today’s decision, venue is  construed narrowly as limited to where the defendant either (i) is incorporated or (ii) has a regular and established place of business in which the defendant committed acts of infringement.

This ruling may substantially limit the number of patent cases that may be brought in the perceived patent-friendly Eastern District of Texas.  This also may increase the number of patent cases brought in patent-savvy Delaware, because that is where most companies are incorporated.  The decision also may make it harder to sue multiple defendants in a single action, because it may be difficulty to establish proper venue over all defendants.

This decision also takes more wind out of the sales of those seeking legislative changes to U.S. patent law.  Whether rightly or wrongly (we express no view here), the E.D. Texas has been used as an example of patent litigation abuse, venue shopping and the need for patent reform.  This decision may end that concern and follows other court decisions addressing patent litigation issues as well as the FTC’s patent assertion entity study that did not find the widespread patent litigation abuse that had fueled legislative efforts. (see, e.g., our Apr. 29, 2014 post on Supreme Court making it easier to get attorneys fees in patent cases and our Oct. 7, 2016 post on the FTC’s PAE study).
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Judge Payne recently denied  defendant LG’s motion to exclude damages expert testimony on alleged standard essential patents (SEPs) where LG challenged the experts opinion (1) because he did not start with a royalty-rate that is then adjusted  by applying Georgia-Pacific factors and (2) because he failed to apportion value to the patented feature given his reliance on the end product price.  The patents-in-suit are alleged to be essential to the GSM, UMTS/HSPA and LTE cellular standards, but the parties disagreed whether the patents are SEPs and other patents-in-suit are not alleged to be SEPs.

The decision sheds some incremental insight on the entire market value rule (EMVR) that concerns when one can use the end product as the royalty base.  The court considered it a rule of evidence for U.S. jury trials to avoid jury confusion and found that the expert properly considered the end product price to assess profitability of the accused device, but otherwise did not rely on the end product as a royalty base.  He ruled that the expert may rely on that end product price in his analysis, but he cannot “publish” (i.e., disclose) that end product price to the jury given the EMVR’s “important evidentiary principle” that “care must be taken to avoid misleading the jury by placing undue emphasis on the value of the entire product” and concern that “diclosure of the end product’s total revenue cannot help but skew the damages horizon for the jury, regardless of the contribution of the patented component to this revenue.”
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Last summer, we reported on a jury verdict and post-trial rulings in favor of SEP patent holder Ericsson in its infringement suit against several manufacturers of WiFi-compliant products.  As we noted, the jury awarded several million dollars for infringement of Ericsson’s 802.11-essential patents.  Thereafter, several defendants took an appeal to the Federal Circuit, which is

Non-practicing entity US Ethernet Innovation’s (“USEI”) infringement action against Samsung was brought to a close last Friday, with E.D. Tex. Judge Michael H. Schneider granting the parties’ joint motion for dismissal with prejudice. USEI filed this action against Samsung and peripheral printing device manufacturer OKI Data Americas on June 22, 2012, alleging that certain OKI

Two weeks ago, we posted about non-party IEEE’s amicus curaie brief in Ericsson v. D-Link, et al., an appeal pending before the Federal Circuit.  The appeal, initiated by defendants D-Link, Dell, Acer, Gateway, Netgear and Toshiba, challenges a jury’s damage award against the defendants for infringement of plaintiff Ericsson’s patents that are claimed to be

Yesterday, the Rockstar Consortium (and its subsidiaries MobileStar Technologies LLC and NetStar Technologies LLC) sued Google and several Andriod device manufactures (Asustek, HTCHuawei, LG, PantechSamsung and ZTE) in E.D. Tex. on several patents that Rockstar had acquired in July 2011 out of the Nortel bankruptcy.

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The Court presiding over Wi-LAN’s patent infringement litigation against HTC and Exedea recently entered an order memorializing the court’s oral rulings on various pre-trial motions and disputes during a September 26, 2013 pre-trial hearing, including whether Wi-LAN’s alleged failure to offer a license on FRAND terms remained an issue in the case after defendants voluntarily

Back in June, we alerted you to a jury verdict handed down in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas, where the jury awarded Ericsson several million dollars as compensation for infringement of several of its 802.11-essential patents by several manufacturers of WiFi-compliant products and components.  At the time, we noted that the jury only addressed issue of validity, infringement, and damages, with SEP-specific issues being potentially left for presiding Judge Leonard Davis to decide.  (In fact, the court held a bench trial on RAND issues on June 12).  The parties filed post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law on several issues, and yesterday, Judge Davis issued a lengthy Memorandum Opinion and Order broadly upholding the jury’s verdict.

[13.08.06 (Dkt 615) Ericsson v. D-Link Order on Post-Trial Motions]

As we suspected, some RAND obligation-related issues reared their heads — but Judge Davis rejected the defendants’ RAND-based arguments and defenses.  In doing so, he made some statements that might be construed as a marked departure from the route taken by Judge Robart in the Microsoft-Motorola case.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at what Judge Davis concluded with respect to Ericsson’s RAND obligations.


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A couple weeks ago, we posted about an interesting pretrial damages ruling in a patent infringement case (actually, several cases) brought by non-practicing entity Wi-LAN against a number of standards-compliant device makers (Sony, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and HTC).  But yesterday, an Eastern District of Texas jury decided that the damages issue was irrelevant, finding that all

Over the past few years, courts have begun cracking down on improper damages theories.  The Federal Circuit’s 2012 opinion in LaserDynamics v. Quanta is instructive on this point, noting that in the absence of evidence that the patented functionality is the source of the demand for the entire product, then damages must be based on