Ruling in Cook medical-device patent case tightens venue rule

A Delaware federal judge’s ruling this week in a medical-device patent-infringement suit against Bloomington-based Cook Medical further tightens venue choice rules in patent cases that were limited in a Supreme Court holding this year.

Boston Scientific Corp. sued Cook in October 2015, alleging patent infringement of its hemostatic clip apparatus and methods for using it to stop gastrointestinal bleeding, among other uses. Cook countersued, seeking judgment in its favor and rulings to invalidate BSC’s patents. Cook also moved the court to either dismiss the case or grant a change of venue.

In an order issued Monday, Delaware District Judge Leonard P. Stark granted Cook’s motion for change of venue. The case was transferred to the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

Stark ruled in light of the holding in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017), while also extending its reach in defining proper venue.

“It is undisputed that after TC Heartland, which held that a corporate defendant ‘resides’ only in its state of incorporation for purposes of determining where venue is proper in a patent case, see 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), Defendants, who are not Delaware corporations, can no longer be said to ‘reside’ in Delaware,” Stark wrote. “TC Heartland did not, however, address the second prong of § 1400(b), which makes venue proper in a district ‘where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.’

 “After reviewing thorough briefing and hearing oral argument, the Court finds that Defendants do not have a ‘regular and established place of business’ in Delaware. Therefore, the Court concludes that venue is improper in Delaware for this action.”

Stark stopped short of granting Cook’s motion for dismissal, finding the venue change would allow timely disposition of the case on the merits. The case docket in the Delaware District is Boston Scientific Corp. and Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc. v. Cook Group Inc. and Cook Medical LLC, 15-980.

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