An Uptick In Customer-Suit Exception After TC Heartland?

By Matthew Zorn (November 9, 2017, 2:40 PM EST) -- One speculated consequence of TC Heartland is that patentees may choose to file lawsuits against other parties in the supply chain. Since the patent laws provide a remedy against "whoever ... sells any patented invention, within the United States," manufacturers are not the only potential target.[1] Plaintiffs may sue distributors or retailers instead. Notably, plaintiffs can sue distributors or retailers in venues in which venue against the manufacturer might be improper. Therefore, plaintiffs can outflank TC Heartland by suing a batch of big-box retailers in the desired venue and capture a slice of the royalty pie from each. To some extent, this may already be happening. For example, very recently, trampoline manufacturer JumpSport Inc. sued Lowe's Companies Inc. in the Eastern District of Texas for sales of Skywalker branded trampolines.[2]...

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