Federal Circuit Clarifies Requirements of Specific Personal Jurisdiction in Patent DJ Actions

January 12, 2009
In patent infringement actions, plaintiffs suing alleged infringers often enjoy a wide selection of district court forums, each offering possible advantages in terms of convenience, speed to trial, and other factors. But where the accused infringer seeks proactively to file a suit for declaratory judgment of non-infringement, invalidity, or unenforceability of a patent (“patent DJ actions”), the choices of forum in which they can commence the action are subject to significantly greater limitations. In its recent decision in Avocent Huntsville Corp. v. Aten International Co., Ltd., 2007-1553, (Fed. Cir. Dec. 1, 2008), the Federal Circuit provides a detailed explanation of its views on personal jurisdiction in patent DJ actions. This update summarizes the court’s ruling as well as its discussion of what “other activities” may or may not suffice to create specific jurisdiction over a non-resident patentee in a patent DJ action.