Statement on TC Heartland Decision
Washington, D.C. – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement following the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s decision in In re: TC Heartland, LLC:
“The Internet Association is disappointed that the Court of Appeals failed to limit the ability of parties to forum shop in patent litigation. Unfortunately, opportunistic patent trolls have exploited our venue law to shop for favorable forums that enable them to extort settlements from innovators and small businesses. Their strategy is working and getting worse. Just 7 years ago, the Eastern District of Texas received just 9% of patent cases. Today, it is home to nearly half of patent cases nationwide.
“Frivolous patent troll activity has created a cottage industry in East Texas, which hosts nearly 2,000 more new lawsuits last year than the next-busiest court. Congress must stop this abusive and harmful tactic through sensible reforms. Trolls should be prevented from shopping for the court of their choice. In particular, the VENUE Act of 2016, introduced by Senators Flake, Gardner, and Lee would help put an end to notorious forum shopping by patent trolls exploiting our courts. The Internet Association thanks them for their work, and urges Congress to immediately pass this essential legislation.”