The Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX) program is touted as a speedy, low-cost way to determine if products sold on infringe on any patents. It’s a major advantage for someone claiming that a product infringes on their patent because APEX can deal with multiple products at one time.

What is the Amazon APEX Process?

The APEX process was at the center of a dispute between SnapPower, a Utah-based company, and Lighting Defense Group (LDG), a Delaware company with its principal place of business in Arizona. In short, both companies, who do business on, produce electrical receptacle covers (among other things), and LDG initated an APEX Agreement against SnapPower over a specific receptacle cover that they claimed infringed on LDG’s patent. APEX notified SnapPower about the ruling and presented them with options to settle the dispute. After a conference call failed to settle the matter, SnapPower filed an action in federal court in Utah for declaratory judgment for noninfringement. LDG filed to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction, and a lower court granted LDG’s motion, however, SnapPower appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals, unpersuaded by LDG’s arguments, reversed and remanded the lower court’s decision.

While the Appeals Court states in their ruling that they do not believe this ruling will “open the floodgates of personal jurisdiction,” some observers believe this ruling creates a tremendous disadvantage for patent owners because, in effect, it rules that anyone claiming a patent infringement must file a declaratory judgment suit in the offending party’s home state. This can cause the patent owner to have to file multiple suits in several different jurisdictions, which may be unfriendly to their arguments.

Since this case has been remanded to the lower court for further action, we likely have not heard the final word yet, but in the time being, patent owners using the APEX process may need to be aware of the need for additional actions to settle any possible patent infringement dispute.