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Fed. Circ. Refuses To Restrict Venue In Patent Cases

May 8th, 2016 Alexander No comments

The Federal Circuit recently denied liquid sweetener company TC Heartland LLC’s request for new restrictions on where patent suits can be filed. TC Heartland was sued by Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC in the District of Delaware and was seeking to have the case moved to the Southern District of Indiana, where it is based.

TC Heartland’s petition for a writ of mandamus, which urged the court to cast aside a 1990 ruling that patent suits can be filed in any district where the defendant makes sales, was denied.

TC Heartland argued that the 1990 decision known as VE Holding was overruled by a 2011 federal law, and that under that statute, patent suits can be filed only in places where the defendant is incorporated or has an established place of business and has allegedly infringed. The Federal Circuit rejected that argument, calling it “utterly without merit or logic.”

“The 2011 amendments to the general venue statute relevant to this appeal were minor,” the court wrote, adding that the statute was in fact “a broadening of the applicability of the definition of corporate residence, not a narrowing. This change in no manner supports Heartland’s arguments.”

“Boy, doesn’t this feel like something a legislature should do rather than something we should be asked to do?” U.S. Circuit Judge Kimberly A. Moore said at oral arguments.

Although the case did not actually involve the Eastern District of Texas, where the most patent suits are filed, it has been closely watched because a decision restricting venue in the way TC Heartland requested would have kept most suits out of the district, since few patent defendants are based there.

According to statistics compiled by Law360, there were 2,523 new patent complaints filed in the Eastern District of Texas last year, accounting for 45.5 percent of all cases nationwide. The collection of small cities 100 miles east of Dallas saw nearly 2,000 more new suits than the next-busiest court, the District of Delaware.

For more information, see Law360.



Yes, you can now sue for emotional distress in China!

July 13th, 2010 Alexander No comments

Here is another bit of news that shows that intellectual property and non-tangible rights are getting more and more protection in China.

While infringement liability has always been the focus of the Civil Code of the West, it has always been lacking in China. Many people have had to rummage from a wide range of different laws and regulations to deal with infringement claim compensation. However, beginning July 1 2010, this situation has changed.

The “Tort Liability Act” is the official introduction of the new law tort liability legal system in China.

People can now resolve infringement disputes under this act.

Specifically, “Tort Liability Act” in Article 2 includes the right to life, health, name, reputation, honor, image rights, privacy, marriage and ownership, custody, ownership, usufruct, security interest, copyright, patent, trademark, rights of discovery, ownership, inheritance and other personal and property rights. In summary, the new law not only includes the traditional scope of property rights, but also includes advanced intellectual property rights, including reputation and privacy. In addition to the non-property damage, one can also request compensation for emotional distress and other protected individual rights.



Let’s punish the Chinese for dumping!

July 10th, 2010 Alexander No comments

Speaking of redistribution of global economic power,  look at this next piece of news about recent investigation into wire mesh dumping in China.  In Dalian, EastFound Material Handling Products co. Ltd’s general manager, Song Binbing, said that China has won its first iron and steel products exports dumping case against the US. The company spent a total of RMB 3 million (about US $500,000) and the victory will save the company 300 million yuan (about $5 million  US).

U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced the final results of an investigation into industrial wire mesh tray countervailing and anti-dumping, determining that the products of Chinese origin have not caused the U.S. industry material injury or threat of material injury. ITC has said that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) may not impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties against the Chinese companies.

Song Binbing stated that the hard-earned win is a victory for the whole industry.

This wire mesh case mainly involves three companies in China, including Dalian EastFound Material Handling Products co. Ltd’s and its subsidiary, EastFound Material Handling Storage Products Co., Ltd. The two companies make up 2/3 of the  total export volume of wire mesh products from China to the U.S. Since the United States initiated an investigation last year in May, EastFound Material Handling Products co. Ltd has spent about RMB 3 million on legal fees. According to U.S. law, if the dumping margin is below 2%, it will implicate an anti-dumping tax rate of 0%. This means that DOC (department of commerce) has no right to impose any anti dumping duties against EastFound Material Handling Products co. Ltd.

It seems that the Chinese have won this round.  Maybe they will win the next time, as well. But one thing is certain: redistribution of global economic power is already taking place right underneath our noses.



Growth of China’s Domestic Needs for Office Goods

June 28th, 2010 Alexander No comments

One of the largest office appliance stores in Taiwan, AURORA GROUP, announced today that it plans to accelerate its transition to the “China concept” in the mainland.

Aurora Group owns 264 direct sales offices in China and expects to expand to 300 offices this year. Aiming to establish itself as a premier brand (B2B) in office furniture (copiers, business machines and other OA), it  has a long-term goal of opening up to 1,000 offices and to become the largest direct seller of OA (office appliance) and office furniture in China.
AURORA CEO Lin Leping pointed out that Taiwan’s office furniture market is already quite mature and Aurora is optimistic about the speed of the rise of its mainland enterprises.  He believes that  the first step is to build brand awareness.  This includes the construction of  an independent corporate pavilion wherein the overall cost of construction is approximately 100 million yuan.  Aurora Museum has attracted more than 520,000 visitors. Second, in July, the Aurora will be cooperating with CCTV to organize the Miss China event, which further expands Aurora’s mainland brand awareness.
Lin Leping said that the mainland has an office furniture market worth RMB 1,000 billion annually, of which the high-end section of the market where Aurora plans to focus on is worth 10 billion yuan.

Aurora’s business in Mainland China is divided into two parts: office furniture and OA (office appliance).

Aurora first established an electronics factory in 1995 in Shanghai, where it produced paper shredders, computer products, office furniture. Aurora now has a considerable reputation in the mainland. It has  51 branches on China’s southeastern coast. Since its entry into the OA business in China, it now has 264 branches.

I heard Best Buy is doing really well in China as well.

China’s domestic market is definitely the new wild western frontier for anyone who deals in consumer products or services.