Full Federal Circuit Refuses to Revive Mandamus Review of Gilstrap Venue Ruling, as Dissent Highlights Resources “Needlessly Wasted” While Parties Await Answers

February 8, 2019

The US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland caused a dramatic realignment in patent venue through its holding that a corporation “resides” for venue purposes in its state of incorporation. However, while TC Heartland provided some much-needed clarity as to that first prong of the patent venue statute (28 USC Section 1400(b)), courts have split as to the statute’s second prong, which provides that venue is proper where a defendant “has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business”. One such ruling applying that prong, handed down last July by District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, has highlighted the tension in this area of venue law. In that order, issued in a case that Fortress Investment Group LLC affiliate Seven Networks LLC brought against Google, Judge Gilstrap denied the defendant’s venue challenge, holding that certain Google servers maintained within third-party facilities in the Eastern District of Texas constituted a “regular and established place of business”. On February 5, the full Federal Circuit declined to revisit that decision for a second time, following its October denial of Google’s petition for mandamus review—once again prompting a sharp rebuke from dissenting Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna (2018-0152).

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