America Invents: Patent Litigation in the Courts

Patent cases present unique challenges to juries, litigators

Patent litigators are tasked with handling expensive cases on complicated topics and arguing them to a judge or jury that might not understand the subject matter. In order to get a competitive edge, litigators must consider the venue, the type of case and whether litigation is even desirable at all.
These issues in patent litigation have been brought to the forefront as practitioners wait on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could change how, and where, patents are filed.
More than 40 percent of patent lawsuits are filed in a federal Eastern Texas court, a statistic that gets at the impetus for TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands being heard by the Supreme Court. This focus on ‘forum shopping’ — based on a 1990 U.S. Court of Appeals decision stating that defendants may be sued anywhere they do business — is seen by many as a detrimental practice.
Many patent decisions are concentrated in certain districts that are seen as being more favorable to patent holders, including Delaware, Eastern Virginia and Northern California. The case could have significant impact on where patent cases are able to be filed, and has the potential to shift patent litigation in a big way.
TC Heartland also brings up a debated topic in the world of intellectual property law — whether jury trials are the best venue for patent cases in the first place. Often, patent cases involve elaborate technology and law, and the jury is faced with the challenge of piecing it all together.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the May 15, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.