Friday, December 2, 2011

Federal Circuit Orders Venue Transfer Out of Delaware

In recent years, the Federal Circuit has been granting petitions for writs of mandamus and ordering venue transfers of cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas.  Today the CAFC granted such a petition in a case filed in Delaware, against a defendant incorporated in Delaware.  In Re Link_A_Media.  Delaware district courts had been routinely denying venue transfer motions where the defendant was incorporated in Delaware, largely on the theory that the defendant "is incorporated in Delaware and, thus, cannot claim surprise at being brought into the Delaware courts for litigation.”

Today the Federal Circuit ruled that venue transfer motions cannot be denied solely on the basis of the defendant's state of incoroporation, but that all the relevant factors under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) must be considered.  The case involved a Northern California-based defendant sued by a Bermuda-based holding company affiliated with a Northern California-based corporation (Marvell).  Thus, all the relevant witnesses on both sides were in Northern California.  The CAFC also commented that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California "is equally equipped to address" patent cases as is the District of Delaware (hooray for us).

The Court did not rule on what would have happened if the plaintiff had also been incorporated in Delaware -- that is perhaps the next case.


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