Federal Circuit Rules That State Sovereign Immunity Does Not Supersede Venue Law

  • September 6, 2019
  • Biotech and Pharma, Patent Litigation Feature

The Federal Circuit has rejected a state university’s argument that its Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity allows it to sidestep the patent venue statute (28 USC Section 1400(b)) (2018-1700). On September 5, the appeals court upheld an order transferring a case filed by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (UT) out of the Western District of Texas, where the university had sued Boston Scientific despite the fact that it is incorporated in Delaware (the transferee district) and headquartered in Massachusetts, agreeing that venue was improper under both prongs of the venue statute. More broadly, the Federal Circuit held that sovereign immunity does not grant UT “the right to bring suit in an otherwise improper venue”, disagreeing with the university’s arguments that it may sue a nonresident in any forum with personal jurisdiction, that the venue statute cannot limit its sovereign immunity, and that Delaware lacks jurisdiction for several reasons also stemming from state sovereignty.


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