Brunette Machine Works, Ltd. v. Kockum Industries, Inc.

PETITIONER: Brunette Machine Works, Ltd.
RESPONDENT: Kockum Industries, Inc.
LOCATION: Leon County Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 70-314
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 406 US 706 (1972)
ARGUED: Mar 23, 1972
DECIDED: Jun 07, 1972

ADVOCATES:
Harry M. Cross, Jr. - for respondent
J. Pierre Kolisch -

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Brunette Machine Works, Ltd. v. Kockum Industries, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 23, 1972 in Brunette Machine Works, Ltd. v. Kockum Industries, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

-- hear arguments next in Number 70-314, Brunette Machine Works against Kockum Industry.

Mr. Kolisch, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

J. Pierre Kolisch:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

The question presented for review is which of two federal venue statute control in a patent infringement suit.

One of them, 1391 (d) is a venue statute which controls venue generally and it states that an alien maybe sued in any district.

The other statute, 1400 (b) specifically covers the situation in patent infringement action and it provides that infringement action may be brought in the district where the defendant resides, or where the defendants has committed acts of infringement and has regular and established place of business.

Warren E. Burger:

Now, with -- with reference to that last phrase of the statute, both factors must be present even with the statute.

J. Pierre Kolisch:

Yes.

Warren E. Burger:

(Voice Overlap) --

J. Pierre Kolisch:

It is not -- it's in the regular established place of business.

However, in the particular case which the Court now has before it, that is not important.

The thing that is significant here is, what was the history of the special venue statute?

Now, this Court has passed on the special venue statute which is now known as 1400 (b), three times.

There had been three different occasions in which the Court was asked to expand venue in the (Voice Overlap) --

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Kolisch, would you explain for me why it isn't important to my response?

(Voice Overlap) --

J. Pierre Kolisch:

It -- it is not important in this case because there isn't any question that under the special venue statute, the defendant here is clear.

In other words, if the special venue statute controls, there is no venue.

If the general venue statute controls, there is venue.

So it's just the question of may an alien -- you see, we represent a Canadian defendant.

And if the question of whether an alien maybe sued any place under the general venue statute or may the defendant claim the special venue statute.

Now, there isn't -- there is no argument that we do not, the defendant, does not qualify under the special venue statute.

So we have a situation here which controls general venue or special venue.

Warren E. Burger:

What's the consequence of venue if your position is correct?

J. Pierre Kolisch:

If my position is correct, we are not subject to suit.

Warren E. Burger:

Anywhere in the United States?

J. Pierre Kolisch:

Correct.

Harry A. Blackmun:

And therefore, it seems to me to cut the other way, there is very important in your case.

J. Pierre Kolisch:

I thought you asked me, Mr. Justice Blackmun, whether or not if we had a regular and established place of business and whether or not we had committed acts of infringement here.

More important, for the purposes of this case, we have agreed that we do not have a regular and established place of business and we have not committed acts of infringement.