United States: National

Having issued judgments thick and fast, the Supreme Court of the United States has fundamentally remodelled US patent litigation in recent years. In TC Heartland v Kraft Foods Group Brands the top court changed the law on venue, restricting it to jurisdictions in which the defendant resides or in which the infringing act was committed, or where the defendant has a regular and established place of business. This, inevitably, gave rise to litigation over what constitutes a ‘regular and established place of business’, and in Raytheon Company v Cray Judge Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas ruled that Cray maintained such a place of business on the basis that one of its remotely working employees had a private residence in the district; this was overruled by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which also adhered strictly to the physical meaning of ‘place’ and the definition of ‘regular’ as frequent. The TC Heartland decision has, therefore, had a negative effect on patent litigation filings in districts perceived as plaintiff friendly and has fuelled a notable increase in filings elsewhere – for example, in the District of Delaware – which has made life difficult for non-practising entities (NPEs). On the subject of Supreme Court involvement, its 2014 decision in Alice Corp v CLS Bank International still reverberates; while some commentators feel that the pendulum has swung as far as it is going to in terms of restricting patentable subject matter under Section 101 of Title 35 of the United States Code, the general consensus is that it is still a quagmire out there for companies looking to obtain and enforce software and business method patents.

The introduction of inter partes reviews and other post-grant mechanisms for invalidating patents under the America Invents Act has also had a transformative effect on patent litigation. The proceedings took off immediately, being seen as a quicker and cheaper alternative to litigation; that the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board has invalidated a majority of the claims that it has reviewed has also fuelled their popularity as a route for those accused of infringement to take. There has been much debate around the extent to which all this has weakened the US patent system, but the Oil States Energy Services v Green’s Energy Group case requiring the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of adjudicating patent validity before an administrative body, as opposed to a federal court, has dominated the headlines of late. On April 24 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision upholding the constitutionality of inter partes review.

The difficulties now faced by NPEs and, in particular, the rise of inter partes reviews have all contributed to a conspicuous decline in district court patent litigation filings in the United States in the past few years. The effect this will have on the legal services market is not yet clear but, especially when factoring in an apparent drop in the cost of patent litigation and a move away from the billable hour fee model, one thing is certain – life is harder now than in the past for a lot of firms. However, those at the very top end of the market appear to still be in good health, aided by the commencement of big competitor-on-competitor suits which do not seem to have abated; highly specialised patent litigation boutiques of compact size – many of them having spun off from big firms in recent years – also appear to be in a strong position. One bright spot in terms of filing volume is the International Trade Commission (ITC), which in 2017 handled nearly the same number of cases as it did at the height of the smartphone wars. The ITC is receiving some share of the cases that TC Heartland has moved out of Texas and is benefiting from the more limited interplay between Section 337 investigations and inter partes reviews. On top of that, some of the recently employed administrative law judges are hitting their stride now, which is helping to improve and expedite the ITC process, leading to more reliable results and getting people excited about the near-term prospects of the forum. Unsurprisingly, firms with established ITC patent litigation practices are reporting increased competition in this segment of the market.

Firms: transactions

Cooley LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Fenwick & West LLP
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Firms: plaintiff

Fish & Richardson PC
Heim, Payne & Chorush LLP
McKool Smith
Robins Kaplan LLP
Susman Godfrey LLP

Firms: litigation

Durie Tangri LLP
Fish & Richardson PC
Irell & Manella LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Baker Botts LLP
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Keker Van Nest & Peters LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
White & Case LLP

Individuals: International Trade Commission

Highly recommended
James Adduci - Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP
Jamie B Beaber - Mayer Brown LLP
Paul F Brinkman - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
G Brian Busey - Morrison & Foerster LLP
Ruffin B Cordell - Fish & Richardson PC
Gary M Hnath - Mayer Brown LLP
Thomas L Jarvis - Winston & Strawn LLP
William F Lee - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Louis S Mastriani - Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP
Michael McKeon - Fish & Richardson PC
Brian Nester - Sidley Austin LLP
Bert C Reiser - Latham & Watkins LLP
Tom M Schaumberg - Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP
Sturgis Sobin - Covington & Burling LLP
Marcia H Sundeen - Goodwin Procter LLP
Mark J Abate - Goodwin Procter LLP
Michael J Abernathy - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Steven Anzalone - Winston & Strawn LLP
James R Barney - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Smith R Brittingham - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Maureen F Browne - Covington & Burling LLP
Cono A Carrano - Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Yar R Chaikovsky - Paul Hastings LLP
Alexander Chinoy - Covington & Burling LLP
Joseph V Colaianni - Fish & Richardson PC
James B Coughlan - Perkins Coie LLP
Mark G Davis - Greenberg Traurig LLP
Edward J DeFranco - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Edward C Donovan - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Shamita D Etienne-Cummings - White & Case LLP
Daniel R Foster - McDermott Will & Emery
Paul Goulet - Winston & Strawn LLP
Maximilian A Grant - Latham & Watkins LLP
Alexander J Hadjis - Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP
Blaney Harper - Jones Day
Blair M Jacobs - Paul Hastings LLP
Lisa Kattan - Baker Botts LLP
Gregg F LoCascio - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Laura Beth Miller - Brinks Gilson & Lione
Eric Namrow - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Jay H Reiziss - McDermott Will & Emery
Nina S Tallon - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Andrew N Thomases - Ropes & Gray LLP
D Sean Trainor - O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Jamie Underwood - Alston & Bird LLP
Mark L Whitaker - Morrison & Foerster LLP
Daniel E Yonan - Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC

Individuals: post-grant proceedings

Highly recommended
Erika Harmon Arner - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Steven Baughman - Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Eldora L Ellison - Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC
Michael Fleming - Irell & Manella LLP
R Danny Huntington - Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC
Naveen Modi - Paul Hastings LLP
W Karl Renner - Fish & Richardson PC
Bing Ai - Perkins Coie LLP
Brent Babcock - Knobbe Martens
W Todd Baker - Oblon
Timothy E Bianchi - Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner PA
David L Cavanaugh - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Erin M Dunston - Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Greg H Gardella - Gardella Grace PA
Edward R Gates - Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, PC
Lori A Gordon - King & Spalding LLP
Kevin Greenleaf - Dentons US LLP
Cynthia Hardman - Goodwin Procter LLP
Herbert D Hart III - McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd
Joseph A Hynds - Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC
Thomas L Irving - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
John Kilyk Jr - Leydig Voit & Mayer Ltd
Bernard Knight - McDermott Will & Emery
Matthew I Kreeger - Morrison & Foerster LLP
Kevin B Laurence - Laurence & Phillips IP Law LLP
Stephen B Maebius - Foley & Lardner LLP
Susan McBee - McBee Moore Woodward & Vanik LP LLC
David L McCombs - Haynes and Boone LLP
Scott A McKeown - Ropes & Gray LLP
John T McNelis - Fenwick & West LLP
Dinesh N Melwani - Bookoff McAndrews PLLC
Stuart P Meyer - Fenwick & West LLP
Lissi Mojica - Brooks Kushman
Robert G Mukai - Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Chun M Ng - Perkins Coie LLP
Joseph E Palys - Paul Hastings LLP
Brad Pedersen - Patterson Thuente IP
Matthew C Phillips - Renaissance IP Law Group LLP
George E Quillin - Foley & Lardner LLP
Timothy W Riffe - Fish & Richardson PC
Jason M Shapiro - Edell Shapiro & Finnan LLC
Jason E Stach - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Robert Greene Sterne - Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC
Clifford A Ulrich - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Todd R Walters - Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Dorothy P Whelan - Fish & Richardson PC
Thomas J Wimbiscus - McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd
Martin M Zoltick - Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC

Individuals: design patents

Christopher V Carani - McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd
Tracy-Gene G Durkin - Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC
Elizabeth D Ferrill - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Michael A Jacobs - Morrison & Foerster LLP
Robert Katz - Banner & Witcoff, Ltd
Darrell G Mottley - Banner & Witcoff, Ltd
Perry Saidman - Saidman DesignLaw Group
Marcus Sprow - Foley & Lardner LLP

Individuals: Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Meredith Martin Addy - Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC
Gregory A Castanias - Jones Day
Morgan Chu - Irell & Manella LLP
John A Dragseth - Fish & Richardson PC
Donald R Dunner - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Nicholas Groombridge - Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Blair M Jacobs - Paul Hastings LLP
J Michael Jakes - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
William M Jay - Goodwin Procter LLP
William F Lee - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Mark A Lemley - Durie Tangri LLP
Charles E Lipsey - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Sasha Mayergoyz - Jones Day
Deanne E Maynard - Morrison & Foerster LLP
William L Mentlik - Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP
John J Molenda - Steptoe & Johnson LLP
John O’Quinn - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Adam L Perlman - Williams & Connolly LLP
Mark A Perry - Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Carter G Phillips - Sidley Austin LLP
Frank Porcelli - Fish & Richardson PC
David T Pritikin - Sidley Austin LLP
Joseph R Re - Knobbe Martens
Edward Reines - Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
William C Rooklidge - Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
E Joshua Rosenkranz - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Frank Scherkenbach - Fish & Richardson PC
Kathleen M Sullivan - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Constantine L Trela Jr - Sidley Austin LLP
Steven Trybus - Jenner & Block LLP
J Derek Vandenburgh - Carlson Caspers Vandenburgh Lindquist & Schuman PA
Seth P Waxman - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Roy H Wepner - Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP
Matthew Wolf - Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

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Issue 91