Personal Jurisdiction: Patent Plaintiff must Link Accused Product with Accused Defendant

F&G Research v. Paten Wireless (Fed. Cir. 2007)(Nonprecedential)

Part of the Congressional patent reform package focuses on venue reform. Defendants are tired of being sued in the Eastern District of Texas.

In this case, F&G sued Paten in the Southern District of Florida — alleging that Paten’s infringing computer mouse components were being distributed in the state.

On appeal, the CAFC affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the case — finding that F&G failed to show that Florida courts have personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The Florida long-arm statute allows for specific jurisdiction over parties who commit tortious acts within Florida. The plaintiff has the burden of providing evidence of those acts.

Here, F&G showed that Paten sold components to several companies doing business in Florida (e.g., Logitech, Belkin, and Creative Technology) and also showed that accused products were being sold in Florida. However, the plaintiff did not provide evidence that the accused products sold in Florida were Paten’s products. Thus, no personal jurisdiction.

New Evidence on Appeal: At the appeal stage, F&G presented some evidence that Paten’s products were being sold in Florida. However, the CAFC refused to hear that new evidence. Although personal jurisdiction may be raised sua sponte by the appellate court, the court will not conduct de novo fact finding regarding jurisdiction.

What now?: Although now armed with more evidence of personal jurisdiction, F&G would likely be blocked from filing in Florida because the issue has already been decided between the parties. There are, of course, several hundred other venues available within the US.