WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, TechFreedom joined several civil society groups in urging Senate Judiciary to support the VENUE Act, which would restrict venue shopping in patent cases that gives plaintiffs an unfair advantage.
Under the Act, plaintiffs would be required to file patent suits in the district that makes the most sense, such as where the defendant’s principal place of business is, where the plaintiff has a manufacturing facility or where the inventor of the patented technology lives. Currently, plaintiffs are free to seek out districts with rules or precedents that would favor them in the case, so long as those courts have the necessary minimum contacts to establish personal jurisdiction.
The letter concludes:
An opportunity to correct egregious patent-venue shopping now is in the hands of Congress. Although venue reform will not solve all problems with the patent system, it is an important first step directed to an important problem. There is no question that abuse of venue stands in the way of both market competition and the right to fairly-applied due process of law. Addressing this should be common sense to individuals across the ideological spectrum, regardless where they stand on other approaches to reform our patent system.
“The fact that nearly half of all patent cases are filed in a single district — the Eastern District of Texas — is a clear sign of a bug in the system,” said Tom Struble, Policy Counsel at TechFreedom. “The venue for a patent trial should be chosen based on its logical connection to the case — not on the strategic advantage it gives one side or the other. Frivolous patent suits can be costly enough, but when defendants are forced to litigate in plaintiff-friendly districts, the costs can be even greater — tipping the scales against innovation while lining the pockets of a select few patent attorneys. The VENUE Act is far from comprehensive patent reform, but it’s an important step in ensuring a fair trial for both defendants and plaintiffs.”
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