Federal Circuit Denies Apple’s Motion to Transfer Venue out of Texas

In re Apple (Fed. Cir. 2010)

In a split decision, a Federal Circuit panel has denied Apple’s petition for a writ of mandamus that had asked the court to transfer Apple’s litigation out of the Eastern District of Texas.   

Three weeks before filing suit, the patent holder formed “Personal Audio LLC” in Beaumont, Texas and then assigned the patent rights to the new company and transferred files relating to the patents to that location (which happen to be the office of its litigation counsel). Personal Audio LLC then sued Apple, Sirius XM, and others.

In its decision on mandamus, the Federal Circuit disagreed with the lower court that the Texas court had a particular interest in adjudicating the dispute because Personal Audio was a local company. Rather, the Federal Circuit noted that the “company’s presence in Texas appears to be both recent and ephemeral—its office is apparently the office of its Texas litigation counsel, and it appears not to have any employees in Texas.”

Still, the Federal Circuit refused to order a transfer because the defendants could not show that their chosen venue of Massachusetts was clearly better “particularly in light of the fact that none of the defendants is headquartered there.”

Change of venue DENIED.

The majority opinion was filed by Judges Mayer and Bryson per curiam. Judge Lourie dissented without opinion.

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The company PatentFreedom recently reported that Apple faced more NPE patent lawsuits during 2004-2009 than any other company. [LINK]

21 thoughts on “Federal Circuit Denies Apple’s Motion to Transfer Venue out of Texas

  1. The personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff argument was rejected, I believe, recently in the Genentech case. So if that was what Apple based its decision on, it was a big mistake.

  2. There was a personal jurisdiction issue when filing such a motion to transfer. Massachusetts is where they could get personal jurisdiction over the principals of the Texas, LLC. Without personal jurisdiction you are not going to get your selected choice of venue.

    Nonsense. You forget that the Texas LLC is not the defendant. A court does not need to have personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff; it only needs to have personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

  3. There was a personal jurisdiction issue when filing such a motion to transfer. Massachusetts is where they could get personal jurisdiction over the principals of the Texas, LLC. Without personal jurisdiction you are not going to get your selected choice of venue.

    “where it might have been brought.”

    um waht?

  4. There was a personal jurisdiction issue when filing such a motion to transfer. Massachusetts is where they could get personal jurisdiction over the principals of the Texas, LLC. Without personal jurisdiction you are not going to get your selected choice of venue.

  5. And the tie color is salmon, blue shirt with white french cuffs, navy pin striped suit, and gold tie clip.

    Oh, you know John, then.

  6. Malcom, having been in this situation a few times, I can say that for once, you’re absolutely correct.

    And the tie color is salmon, blue shirt with white french cuffs, navy pin striped suit, and gold tie clip.

  7. “with ridiculous hair”

    Can you tell us about his shoes too Mooney? How would you describe the color of his tie? Would you say “salmon” or just pink. My guess is you would say “salmon.”

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Seriously? What genius came up with that plan?

    Really one of the dummest strategies I’ve heard yet. You can imagine the meeting where the strategy was decided. A couple attorneys there (and probably all of the younger ones) are saying, “This sounds incredibly m0r0nic.” But then there’s this big talker with ridiculous hair who talks louder than everyone and he’s sure that this is the way to go.

    And so it goes.

  9. So, I assume that the possibility of a second petition for writ of mandamus to change venue to someplace where a defendant IS headquartered remains available to the defendants?

    Sure, go convince the Texas judge who just rejected your motion to transfer the case from Random District of Texas to Random District of Massachusetts that this time you’ve guessed right about why you don’t trust him to hear the case.

  10. So, I assume that the possibility of a second petition for writ of mandamus to change venue to someplace where a defendant IS headquartered remains available to the defendants?

  11. Seriously? What genius came up with that plan?

    “It’s unfair to us to have this in a jurisdiction where none of us are located, so let’s move it to a jurisdiction where neither us nor the plaintiffs are located that has a substantial anti-patent bias and long, drawn out process.”

    It never ceases to amaze me at the representation that big companies are willing (or unwilling) to pay for.

  12. So are the defendants stuck in E.D. Texas because they fought shenanigans with more shenanigans, or can they still pick a real venue and petition for another writ?

  13. Well I got my head banged up some more while I was represented through Texas. Does that count?
    Because I was sort of headquartered there?

  14. I find it amazing that we are once again in forum shopping wars that were fought viciously before the Fed. Cir. was formed. This time the issue is speed to trial vs. endless delay.

    Next we are going to see the big companies lobby for “venue reform.”

  15. Four defendants and they chose a jurisdiction where none of them are HQ’ed? Clearly they are forum shopping just as much as the plaintiff.

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