Google Gets Out of Texas in Its First Post-TC Heartland Transfer

December 10, 2017

A patent infringement suit brought against Google by Personal Audio, LLC has been transferred from the Eastern District of Texas (1:15-cv-00350) to the District of Delaware (1:17-cv-01751) due to improper venue. This appears to be the first time that a court has transferred a case against Google for that reason since the US Supreme Court issued its May 22 opinion in TC Heartland, which held that the narrower patent venue statute (28 USC Section 1400(b)), not the general venue statute (28 USC Section 1391), governs in infringement suits. In addition to the issue of venue propriety itself, the court also ruled on two other, threshold issues related to venue that had not been previously addressed by TC Heartland or subsequent cases: that the burden of proof for venue challenges falls on the plaintiff, under prior precedent for the patent venue statute; and that venue in patent suits should be analyzed based on facts and circumstances existing at the time a suit is filed, in light of the text of the statute.

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