Plenty of ink has been spilled in the last few years over the Federal Circuit’s caselaw on venue—an issue frequently in the spotlight due to the court’s sparring with District Judge Alan D. Albright over convenience transfers. However, a different, venue-adjacent issue was at the center of a new precedential opinion from the Federal Circuit—that of general personal jurisdiction, or a court’s power to hear any claim against a certain defendant, over foreign corporations. While general personal jurisdiction exists for a US company in the state where it is “at home”, a different rule applies for non-US residents. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2), general personal jurisdiction can be established over a defendant who “is not subject to jurisdiction in any state’s courts of general jurisdiction”—i.e., a nonresident defendant, one not at home in any state—for a claim arising under federal law. Such a defendant can only challenge 4(k)(2) jurisdiction by identifying an alternate forum where the suit against it could have been brought. Yet the Federal Circuit’s January 9 In re: Stingray IP Solutionsdecision dealt with an even narrower edge case: whether a defendant can defeat 4(k)(2) jurisdiction solely by unilaterally consenting to jurisdiction in a different venue. The court held that it cannot do so.
Stingray IP Solutions, LLC has added cases against ADT (2:22-cv-00421) and ResideoTechnologies (2:22-cv-00420) to its sole litigation campaign, which targets the provision of smart devices and related products that support certain Wi-Fi wireless standards with patents acquired from Harris Corporation (now L3Harris after the 2019 merger with L3 Technologies). The Acacia Research Corporation plaintiff filed its new litigation back in the Eastern District of Texas, where its earlier October case, against Johnson Controls (2:22-cv-00389), was filed, rather than in the Central District of California, to where the other active litigation, against TP-Link, was just transferred, after District Judge Rodney Gilstrap ruled that his court does not have personal jurisdiction over TP-Link.
Stingray IP Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, has continued its pattern of filing cases in pairs, hitting Amazon (Amazon.com, eero, Immedia Semiconductor (d/b/a Blink), Ring)) (2:21-cv-00194, 2:21-cv-00196), Legrand (2:21-cv-00201, 2:21-cv-00202), and Somfy (2:21-cv-00193, 2:21-cv-00195), all in the Eastern District of Texas. Eight patents picked up from Harris Corporation (now L3Harris after the 2019 merger with L3 Technologies) are asserted against each defendant, in groups of four, with infringement allegations throughout the campaign targeting the provision of smart devices and related products that support various wireless standards.