The U.S. Supreme Court’s May 22, 2017 decision in TC Heartland effectively shifts a significant number of patent litigations out of courts previously deemed acceptable to courts in other venues in which the defendant corporation is incorporated. In reaching this decision, the Supreme Court relied upon its 1957 decision in Fourco Glass interpreting the patent
Filed under “wisdom borne of pain” — five things about using the Hague Service Convention that lop hours off of the time spent serving a foreign company in a US-based litigation.
In this particular case, the “wisdom” was gained in connection with members of a trial team serving an accused infringer in a US patent litigation, but these insights are relevant to US federal and state court litigation generally.
Quick primer on the Convention
The US ratified the Hague Service Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents (“Hague Service Convention” or the “Convention”) 50 years ago and compliance with the Convention is mandatory where service is attempted on a person or company in one of over 60 countries that are parties to the Convention. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, 486 U.S. 694, 705 (1988).
The primary means by which service is accomplished under the Convention is through a receiving country’s “Central Authority.” The receiving country can impose certain requirements with respect to these documents (for example, that they be translated into the language of that country). If the documents comply with the applicable requirements, the Convention affirmatively requires the Central Authority to effect service in its country.
The Convention also does not “interfere with” other methods of serving documents. Article 10(a) of the Convention states: “Provided the State of destination does not object, the present Convention shall not interfere with — (a) the freedom to send judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons abroad.” (Emphasis added.)
So What Are the 5 Things about the Convention That Save Time and Money?…