The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied HTC Corporation a writ of mandamus relating to a patent infringement lawsuit.
Taiwan-based HTC asked the Federal Circuit to direct the US District Court for the District of Delaware to vacate its decision, made on December 18, 2017, which partly denied HTC’s motion to dismiss for improper venue a patent infringement complaint brought against it.
The company also wanted the complaint to be dismissed.
In January last year, 3G Licensing, Orange and KPN filed a patent infringement claim against HTC Corporation and Washington-based HTC America.
HTC was accused of infringing US patent numbers 6,212,662; 9,014,667; 7,933,564; 7,995,091; and 6,856,818. The patents relate to mobile communication, data storage and transmissions.
In June 2017, HTC filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The Delaware court found that the venue was not proper for HTC America but was proper for HTC Corporation. Following this order, the case against HTC America was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.
The district court said that because HTC Corporation is a foreign corporation, it is subject to suit in any judicial district.
HTC argued that the district court erred in three ways. First, by applying §1391(c)(3) in a patent case.
This section states that a defendant that is not a US resident may be sued in any judicial district. The defendant’s joinder shall be “disregarded in determining where the action may be brought with respect to other defendants”, according to the section.
Second, HTC said the district court relied on a prior version of §1391 and, last, it alleged that the court did not apply the patent venue statute §1400(b). This states that any civil patent infringement action may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the alleged infringement has been committed.
However, the Federal Circuit said that the district court made no error in its analysis. It said that HTC’s arguments were fully addressed in the district court’s decision by reaffirming the “long-established rule that suits against aliens are wholly outside the operation of the federal venue laws, general and special”.
The Federal Circuit said that HTC failed to convince the court that a writ should be warranted in this case. While HTC attempted to characterise the legal issue as “unsettled”, the Federal Circuit ruled that the company did not sufficiently support its argument.
As a result, the Federal Circuit said that HTC did not satisfy the high standard necessary for a writ of mandamus to be issued, and denied the action.