From the Alliance

May. 22, 2017

Innovation Alliance Statement on Supreme Court’s TC Heartland Venue Decision

Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC reversing a Federal Circuit rule governing the allowable court venue for patent litigation:

“It is important to recognize that the Supreme Court’s decision today follows numerous other Supreme Court rulings over the last decade that have made it more difficult for patent holders to enforce their patents.  This decision also comes on top of several major legislative and administrative measures adopted in recent years that have similarly weakened patent rights.  Taken together, these patent system changes have made it harder for American inventors to succeed and undercut a key driver of U.S. innovation and job creation.

“Disturbingly, the U.S. is no longer considered the gold standard among patent regimes.  While the U.S. has been curtailing patent protections, our foreign competitors, such as China and Germany, have been moving to strengthen those protections and promote innovation in their countries.  Notably, in 2016, the U.S. fell to 10th place in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s international ranking of patent system strength, falling behind countries such as Singapore, Spain and Italy.

“As a result, innovation – and the jobs and economic growth that go with it – has increasingly moved overseas, along with the venture capital that funds so much of our start-up and entrepreneurial growth.  In 2014, the rate of new U.S. startups was the second lowest on record.  In 2015, the U.S. share of global venture capital shrank to 54%, down from 83% in 1996.  And according to the National Venture Capital Association, in three of the last four years, at least half of the top ten largest venture investments in the world occurred outside the U.S.

“Patents provide a vital incentive for inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups and universities to innovate and bring new technologies and medical breakthroughs to market.  Without strong intellectual property rights, our innovations can be knocked off by large corporations and foreign entities, and small inventors have no recourse when their ideas are stolen.  The American patent system has been central to creating an innovation ecosystem that has produced the strongest economy in the world.  The U.S. must adopt policies that strengthen our patent system, instead of further weakening it.”


The Innovation Alliance represents innovators, patent owners and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries that believe in the critical importance of maintaining a strong patent system that supports innovative enterprises of all sizes. Innovation Alliance members can be found in large and small communities across the country, helping to fuel the innovation pipeline and drive the 21st century economy. Learn more at

Contact: Kat Maramba, 202-740-3069,