A few days ago I was discussing TS Tech with a patent law guru. I suggested that TS Tech would not have a major impact on the location of patent cases – largely because local judges still retain a large amount of discretion in determining whether another venue is more convenient. . . . What do I know.
Odom v. Microsoft (E.D. Tex, Jan 30 2009)
Famed patent blogger Gary Odom sued Microsoft in the Eastern District of Texas – alleging that the Office 07 toolbar infringes Odom's software patent. Judge Love was assigned the case — but now he has granted Microsoft's motion to transfer the case to Oregon. You see, Odom is located in Oregon, Microsoft in Washington, the Klarquist firm (who once worked with both Odom and Microsoft) is in Oregon.
Judge Love relied on the Federal Circuit's TS Tech (J. Rader) opinion and the 5th Circuit's VW opinion (en banc) in determining that the suit should continue in the Northwest rather than Texas.
Under the circumstances presented here, the convenience of witnesses and localized interests weigh in favor of transfer with the other factors neutral or weighing slightly in favor of transfer. This is a case that is significantly localized in the Northwest. Both parties are residents of the Northwest, and Microsoft’s equitable defenses all arise out of conduct and contracts in the Northwest. No Texas resident is a party to this litigation, nor is any Texas state law cause of action asserted. All identified witnesses—with the possible exception of one—are located in the Northwest. This is not a case where witnesses are expected to be traveling from all over the country or world. In summary, there is little convenience to the parties for this case to remain in Texas, while there are several reasons why it would be more convenient for the parties to litigate this case in Oregon.
- Order to transfer order to transfer from texas
- E.D. Texas Blogger Michael Smith has more details
- It remains to be seen if Judges Ward and Davis follow suit.
- In the opinion, Judge Love did distinguish some portions of TS Tech. Importantly, much of the likely evidence is in electronic form. The court found that the physical location of the servers holding that electronic evidence did not impact the inconvenient forum analysis.