September 29, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

Mandamus for Improper Venue | Patently-O

4 min read

by Dennis Crouch

The U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the Federal Circuit lately declined to subject a writ of mandamus directing the U.S. District Courtroom for the Jap District of Texas (Decide Gilstrap) to dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit towards Constitution Communications primarily based upon improper venue. In re Constitution Commc’ns, Inc., No. 2023-136 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 5, 2023). Though non-precedential, the choice highlights a key distinction between motions to dismiss for improper venue underneath 28 U.S.C. § 1406 and motions to switch venue for comfort underneath 28 U.S.C. § 1404. It additionally reveals the excessive bar for acquiring the “extraordinary treatment” of mandamus reduction from denial of an improper venue movement.

The same old rule for appeals is that events should wait till remaining judgment.  Assuming that it loses on the deserves, Constitution can have one other alternative to attraction venue as soon as the case is concluded.

Background: Entropic sued Constitution for infringing a number of of its patents, together with US10135682.  The patents cowl varied points of cable community administration, specializing in Cable Modem Termination Methods (CMTS) that serve a number of cable modems. The CMTS determines varied Sign-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) associated metrics for these modems and assigns them to completely different service teams primarily based on these metrics.

Though Constitution derives substantial income from prospects positioned within the Jap District of Texas, it nonetheless moved to dismiss the case for improper venue underneath § 1400(b), arguing it lacked an everyday and established office in that district.  This statute limits the places the place patent infringement lawsuits might be filed.

1400(b) Any civil motion for patent infringement could also be introduced within the judicial district the place the defendant resides, or the place the defendant has dedicated acts of infringement and has an everyday and established office.

Id.  The Supreme Courtroom has interpreted this statute to restrict actions towards companies to both (1) their state of incorporation or (2) a district the place the defendant “has an everyday and established office” and in addition infringes the patent by making, utilizing or promoting the invention.   Constitution is a Delaware firm and doesn’t function its personal retail shops within the Jap District.  Nonetheless, the district courtroom denied the movement to dismiss, discovering venue was correct as a result of Constitution ratified retail shops operated by its subsidiaries within the district and people subsidiaries have been Constitution’s brokers.

Improper vs. Inconvenient Venue

There is a crucial distinction between improper venue underneath § 1400(b) and inconvenient venue underneath § 1404(a). Part 1400 applies when venue is “fallacious” or “improper” within the chosen district. If venue is improper, the district courtroom should dismiss the case or switch it to a correct district.  And, if a case goes to conclusion in an improper venue, a dropping defendant would have a chance to attraction and a minimum of get a brand new trial in a correct venue.

In distinction, § 1404 permits switch “[f]or the comfort of events and witnesses” even when venue is correct. Courts have better discretion in deciding § 1404 switch motions primarily based on case-specific elements like comfort and judicial financial system.  And, by the tip of a trial, it’s nearly by no means “handy” to retry the case in one other venue.  Thus, post-trial part 1404 appeals are principally automated losers.

Thus, though “fallacious venue” appears like an even bigger deal than “inconvenient venue” the Federal Circuit has traditionally solely granted rapid mandamus actions for the latter.  The distinction right here is that, absent mandamus, the inconvenient venue subject can not virtually be appealed.

Mandamus Requirements

The get together looking for a writ of mandamus should present (1) no different ample means to realize reduction; (2) a transparent and indeniable proper to issuance of the writ; and (3) the writ is suitable underneath the circumstances. Cheney v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for D.C., 542 U.S. 367 (2004).  Up to now, the courtroom has steered that 1400(b) points are unlikely to result in mandamus reduction as a result of “post-judgment attraction is an ample different means for attaining reduction” if venue is discovered improper on attraction. In re Monolithic Energy Sys., Inc., 50 F.4th 157 (Fed. Cir. 2022).

The Federal Circuit’s Choice

In a brief opinion authored by Decide Cunningham, the Federal Circuit denied Constitution’s petition for mandamus, discovering no justification for rapid evaluation of the district courtroom’s order:

At most, CCI’s arguments current a record-specific dispute: whether or not CCI exerts management ample to impute its subsidiaries’ in-district operations to CCI underneath Fifth Circuit regulation. . . . CCI’s petition doesn’t increase the kind of broad, basic, and recurring authorized query or different issues that may warrant mandamus evaluation.

In re Constitution Commc’ns, Inc., (Fed. Cir. Sept. 5, 2023) (inside citations and citation marks omitted). The courtroom right here emphasised that mandamus is an “extraordinary treatment” and Constitution had not proven the district courtroom’s resolution was clearly fallacious or raised a novel authorized subject requiring immediate decision. Somewhat, Constitution appeared to “current[] a record-specific dispute” about imputing its subsidiaries’ actions to Constitution for venue functions. The courtroom additionally defined that Constitution might nonetheless problem venue on direct attraction after remaining judgment, which offered an ample different treatment.


The courtroom has refused to take the bait and broaden mandamus reduction to improper venue challenges underneath § 1400(b). Defendants should usually wait to attraction after remaining judgment, even when venue could have been faulty. Observe although that mandamus could also be nonetheless be justified for improper venue selections implicating unsettled areas of regulation or the place the get together can present a significant ensuing injustice. However disagreements about case-specific details and evaluation are unlikely to clear the excessive mandamus bar.


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