For our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, June 12, 2017, we will discuss the following cases:
TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC (Supreme Court, March 27, 2017) (available here). Kraft Foods sued TC Heartland for patent infringement in Delaware. The district court denied TC’s motion to dismiss or transfer venue. TC petitioned for a writ of mandamus in the United States Court of Appeals and was denied, certiorari was then granted. Justice Thomas writing for the rest of the Supreme Court held: for purposes of the patent venue statute (28 U.S.C. §1400(b)), a domestic corporation only resides in its state of incorporation.
Elliott v. Google, Inc. (9th Circuit., May 16, 2017) (available here). In an action under the Lanham Act, Elliott tried to cancel the Trademark GOOGLE, arguing the term had become generic. Specifically, Elliot argued that the term “Google” had become generic for the act or searching for something on the internet. The 9th Circuit held that a claim of genericness must relate to a type of good or service, not simply an action in verb form.