MOORE, Circuit Judge.
TC Heartland LLC ("Heartland") petitions for a writ of mandamus to direct the United States District Court for the District of Delaware to either dismiss or transfer the patent infringement suit filed against it by Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC ("Kraft"). We deny Heartland's petition.
Heartland is a limited liability company organized and existing under Indiana law and headquartered in Indiana. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC v. TC Heartland, LLC, No. 14-28-LPS, 2015 WL 4778828, at *1 (D.Del. Aug. 13, 2015) ("Magistrate's Report"). Respondent Kraft is organized and exists under Delaware law and its principal place of business is in Illinois. Id. Kraft filed suit against Heartland in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware alleging that Heartland's liquid water enhancer products ("accused products") infringe three of Kraft's patents. Id. at *1-2. Heartland moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. Id. at *1. It also moved to either dismiss the action or transfer venue to the Southern District of Indiana under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1404 and 1406. Id.
Before the district court, Heartland alleged that it is not registered to do business in Delaware, has no local presence in Delaware, has not entered into any supply contracts in Delaware or called on any accounts there to solicit sales. But Heartland admitted it ships orders of the accused products into Delaware pursuant to contracts with two national accounts. In 2013, these shipments, which contained 44,707 cases of the accused product that generated at least $331,000 in revenue, were about 2% of Heartland's total sales of the accused products that year. The Magistrate Judge, applying, inter alia, our precedent from Beverly Hills Fan Co. v. Royal Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558, 1571 (Fed.Cir.1994), determined that it had specific personal jurisdiction over Heartland for claims involving the accused products. He also rejected Heartland's arguments that Congress' 2011 amendments to 28 U.S.C. § 1391 changed the law governing venue for patent infringement suits in a manner which nullified our holding in VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co., 917 F.2d 1574 (Fed.Cir.1990). The district court adopted the Magistrate Judge's report in all respects and denied Heartland's motions. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC v. TC Heartland, LLC, No.
A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy appropriate only in exceptional circumstances, such as those amounting to a judicial "usurpation of power" or a clear abuse of discretion. Cheney v. U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of Columbia, 542 U.S. 367, 380, 124 S.Ct. 2576, 159 L.Ed.2d 459 (2004). Three conditions must be satisfied before issuing the writ: 1) the petitioner must have no other adequate means to attain the relief he desires; 2) the petitioner has the burden to show his right to mandamus is "clear and indisputable"; and 3) the issuing court must be satisfied that the writ is appropriate under the circumstances. Id. at 380-81, 124 S.Ct. 2576. The parties do not address all three parts of the Cheney test in their briefing, focusing instead on only the second part. We likewise confine our analysis to only the second part of the Cheney test.
Heartland argues that it is entitled to a writ of mandamus based on two legal theories. First, it argues that it does not "reside" in Delaware for venue purposes according to 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). Second, it argues that the Delaware district court lacks specific personal jurisdiction over it for this civil action. We conclude that a writ of mandamus is not warranted. The arguments raised regarding venue have been firmly resolved by VE Holding, a settled precedent for over 25 years. The arguments raised regarding personal jurisdiction have been definitively resolved by Beverly Hills Fan, a settled precedent for over 20 years. As a panel, we are bound by the prior decisions of this court.
With respect to venue, Heartland argues that Congress' 2011 amendments to 28 U.S.C. § 1391 changed the statutory law in a manner which effectively overruled VE Holding: "To be clear, the argument set forth here is that this Court's holding in VE Holding no longer applies given the changed language in §§ 1391(a) and (c)." Pet. 9. We do not agree. In VE Holding, this court held that the definition of corporate residence in the general venue statute, § 1391(c), applied to the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400. The 2011 amendments to the general venue statute relevant to this appeal were minor. The language preceding the definition of corporate residence in § 1391 was changed from "For the purposes of venue under this chapter ..." to "For all venue purposes...." Compare 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c) (1988) with 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c) (2011). This is a broadening of the applicability of the definition of corporate residence, not a narrowing. This change in no manner supports Heartland's arguments.
The only other relevant 2011 amendment is the addition of the language in § 1391(a), "Applicability of section. — Except as otherwise provided by law." Heartland argues that the "law" otherwise defined corporate residence for patent cases and therefore the statutory definition found in § 1391(c) is no longer applicable to patent cases. As Heartland itself acknowledges, "most special venue statutes have not been held to encompass particular rules about residency, and thus subsection (c) can apply to such statutes wherever they are found in the U.S. Code." Pet. 7-8. The patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), provides in its entirety: "Any civil action for patent infringement
Heartland cites to a single sentence in a footnote in the Supreme Court's decision in Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 568, 577 n. 2, 187 L.Ed.2d 487 (2013), to argue "the Supreme Court showed its belief that § 1391 is not applicable to patent cases, and § 1400 is." Reply 9. Heartland's argument misses its mark. The Supreme Court's footnote states in its entirety: "Section 1391 governs `venue generally,' that is, in cases where a more specific venue provision does not apply. Cf., e.g., § 1400 (identifying proper venue for copyright and patent suits)." Atl. Marine Constr. Co., 134 S.Ct. at 577 n. 2. It is undisputed that § 1400 is a specific venue provision pertaining to patent infringement suits. But what Heartland overlooks, and what Atlantic Marine does not address, is that § 1400(b) states that venue is appropriate for a patent infringement suit "where the defendant resides" without defining what "resides" means when the defendant is a corporation. The general statement in this footnote is completely accurate, but cannot be transmogrified into the argument made by Heartland. "[T]he general statute, § 1391(c), expressly reads itself into the specific statute, § 1400(b)," "only operates to define a term in § 1400(b),"
Heartland has presented no evidence which supports its view that Congress intended to codify Fourco in its 2011 amendments. In fact, before and after these amendments, in the context of considering amending the patent venue statute, Congressional reports have repeatedly recognized that VE Holding is the prevailing law. See H.R.Rep. No. 110-314, at 39-40 (2007); S.Rep. No. 110-259, at 25 (2008); H.R.Rep. No. 114-235, at 34 (2015) (stating that "Congress must correct" our holding in VE Holding by amending § 1400); cf. Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016, S. 2733, 114th Cong. § 2(a) (2016).
B. Personal Jurisdiction
Heartland's argument regarding personal jurisdiction in this case is, as the Magistrate Judge noted, difficult to follow.
We also held in Beverly Hills Fan that, even where there are sufficient minimum contacts under a stream of commerce theory or otherwise, due process also requires that a forum's assertion of jurisdiction be reasonable, considering all the facts and circumstances of a case. Beverly Hills Fan, 21 F.3d at 1568; see also Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945) (explaining that due process requires that "maintenance of the suit does not offend `traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice'"). We explained that the forum state had significant interests in discouraging injuries that occur within the state, such as patent infringement, and in cooperating with other states to provide a forum for efficiently litigating a plaintiff's cause of action. Beverly Hills Fan, 21 F.3d at 1568. We further explained that the plaintiff could seek redress in the forum state for sales of the accused product in other states, thereby sparing other states the burden of also having to provide such a forum and protecting defendants from being harassed with multiple infringement suits. Id. And we explained that the burden on the defendant did not appear particularly significant and was not sufficiently compelling to outweigh the plaintiff's and the forum state's interests. Id. at 1569. Heartland does not argue that the district court's exercise of jurisdiction is unreasonable, nor does it dispute that the balance of the plaintiff's and forum state's interests against the burdens imposed on it is any different than those in Beverly Hills Fan. Instead, it argues that our statement in Beverly Hills Fan that a forum state could hear claims for infringing acts occurring outside of the forum
Heartland's arguments are foreclosed by our long standing precedent. Heartland has thus failed to show that its right to mandamus is clear and indisputable.
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
The petition for a writ of mandamus is denied.