United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
TIMOTHY S. BLACK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
civil case is before the Court on the motion of Defendant
Ranir, LLC (“Ranir”) to dismiss the Complaint
filed by Plaintiff The Proctor & Gamble Company
(“P&G”) for improper venue (Doc. 14), and the
parties' responsive memoranda (Docs. 23, 30).
patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), provides that
civil actions for patent infringement may be brought in the
judicial district (1) “where the defendant
resides” or (2) “where
the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a
regular and established place of business.”
general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c)(2), states
that corporate defendants in civil cases are “deemed to
reside, if a defendant, in any
judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the
court's personal jurisdiction[.]” The procedural
posture in this case is the result of uncertainty regarding
where corporate patent defendants “reside” in
light of previously conflicting decisions by the Supreme
Court and the Federal Circuit concerning the relationship
between § 1400(b) and § 1391.
1957, the Supreme Court concluded that, for purposes of
§ 1400(b), a domestic corporation “resides”
only in its state of incorporation. See Fourco Glass Co.
v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 226 (1957).
In so holding, the Supreme Court rejected the notion that
§ 1400(b) incorporated the broader definition of
“residence” found in § 1391. Id. at
228. The Supreme Court reasoned:
We think it is clear that § 1391(c) is a general
corporation venue statute, whereas § 1400(b) is a
special venue statute applicable, specifically, to
all defendants in a particular type of actions,
i.e., patent infringement actions. In these
circumstances the law is settled that “However
inclusive may be the general language of a statute, it
‘will not be held to apply to a matter specifically
dealt with in another part of the same enactment .....
Specific terms prevail over the general in the same or
another statute which otherwise might be
Fourco, 353 U.S. at 228-29.
1990, the Federal Circuit held that subsequent Congressional
amendments to § 1391 effectively abrogated the rule
announced in Fourco. See VE Holding Corp. v.
Johnson Gas Appliance Co., 917 F.2d 1574 (1990). In
1988, Congress amended § 1391(c) to state, in part:
“[f]or purposes of venue under this chapter, a
defendant that is a corporation shall be deemed to reside in
any judicial district in which it is subject to personal
jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced.”
VE Holding, 917 F.2d at 1578. The Federal Circuit
held that inclusion of the language “for purposes of
venue under this chapter” incorporated and redefined
the definition of “resides” in § 1400(b),
which is also located in Chapter 28 of the United States
Code. Id. at 1578-80. Accordingly, under the Federal
Circuit's interpretation, a corporate defendant in a
patent case was deemed to “reside” in every
judicial district in which it was subject to personal
jurisdiction. Id. at 1584.
March 20, 2017, P&G filed the Complaint. (Doc. 1). The
Complaint alleges Ranir is infringing patents held by P&G
used in tooth whitening strip products. (Id.) The
Complaint argues Ranir is attempting to “ride on the
coattails of P&G's success by selling tooth whitening
strips that infringe P&G's patented
technology.” (Id. at ¶ 9). The Complaint
seeks declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent
injunctions, compensatory damages, treble damages,
pre-judgment interest, attorney's fees and costs.
(Id. at 13).
Complaint alleges that P&G is incorporated in Ohio with
its principal place of business in Cincinnati, Ohio, and
Ranir is a limited liability company organized under the laws
of Delaware with its principal place of business in Grand
Rapids, Michigan. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 1-2). The Complaint
states the Court “has personal jurisdiction over Ranir
under the Ohio long-arm statute (O.R.C. § 2307.382)
because Ranir contracts to supply and has supplied tooth
whitening strips that infringe P&G's intellectual
property in this State and in this District” and
“[v]enue is proper in this Court under 28 U.S.C.