Justices to weigh limits on where patent lawsuits are filed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court could make it easier for companies to defend themselves against patent infringement lawsuits.

The justices recently agreed they will decide whether such lawsuits can be filed in any court in the country — as they are now — or be limited to courts that are more convenient for corporate defendants.

The issue is important to many companies that complain about plaintiffs “forum shopping” for favorable courts.

More than 40 percent of patent lawsuits are now filed in eastern Texas courts, where local rules favor quick trials and juries can be more sympathetic to plaintiffs.

The justices will hear an appeal from TC Heartland, an Indiana-based food sweetener company sued by Kraft Foods in Delaware. Lower courts refused to transfer the case to Indiana.