Friday, December 03, 2010

Fed. Cir. orders transfer of multi-defendant patent case to N.D. Cal.

Did you think that having several defendants in multiple other districts insulated an E.D. Tex. patent plaintiff from a § 1404(a) transfer? If so, you may want to qualify that thought a bit.

The Federal Circuit today issued a writ of mandamus ordering the transfer of a multi-defendant patent case to the N.D. Cal. The key facts were these:

  • The plaintiff was from the N.D. Cal.
  • 11 of the 12 defendants were headquartered in California, with 6 of those actually headquartered in the N.D. Cal.
  • Only one defendant (Dell) was headquartered in Texas (but not in the E.D. Tex.).

So the lesson seems to be this: the “multi-defendant defeats § 1404(a) transfer” strategy doesn't necessarily work where the majority of the defendants are from one particular area outside the forum (even if they’re all not from the same federal district).

In re Acer Amer. Corp., Misc. No. 942 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 3, 2010)

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