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VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

October 24, 1990, Decided

Nos. 90-1270, 90-1274


 [***1614]   [*1575]  PLAGER, Circuit Judge

For almost one hundred years, a specific statutory provision, currently section 1400(b) of chapter 87, title 28, U.S. Code, has set forth the bases for establishing venue in patent infringement actions. Where the defendant 'resides' is one of those bases. Supreme Court decisions, with one exception, have maintained that that provision is unaffected by other statutory provisions governing venue.

In 1988 Congress adopted a new definition [**2]  of 'reside' as it applies to venue for corporate defendants. This case requires us to decide whether, by that amendment to § 1391(c) of chapter 87, Congress meant to apply that definition to the term as it is used in § 1400(b), and thus change this long-standing interpretation of the patent venue statute. The district courts addressing this question have arrived at conflicting results. 1 

 [**3]  This is a case of first impression. It comes to us in the form of consolidated appeals from two judgments of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ("District Court"), No. C89-0209 SC (May 19, 1989) ("VE Holding I" - Appeal 90-1270) and No. C89-3856 SC (Feb. 9, 1990) ("VE Holding II" - Appeal 90-1274), dismissing plaintiff/appellant's action against appellee for improper venue. We hold that Congress by its 1988 amendment of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c) meant what it said; the meaning of the term 'resides' in § 1400(b) has changed. We therefore reverse the judgment in VE Holding II (Appeal 90-1274) and remand the case for further  [*1576]  proceedings consistent with this opinion. 2 

 [***1615]   [**4]  I.

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917 F.2d 1574 *; 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 18553 **; 16 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1614 ***


Prior History:  [**1]   Appealed from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Judge Conti.

Disposition: Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.


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Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Venue, Multiparty Litigation, Copyright Law, Civil Infringement Actions, Jurisdiction, General Overview, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Personal Jurisdiction & Venue, Corporations, Infringement Actions, Special Venue, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation