by Dennis Crouch
In re Apple (Fed. Cir. 2020) [Apple Mandamus Petition]
On June 16, Apple petitioned the Federal Circuit for writ of mandamus on forum non-conveniens. Uniloc has apparently sued Apple in 24 different lawsuits in E.D. Tex. and W.D. Tex. The vast majority of those cases have been transferred to N.D.Cal. (21 of them — transferred by Judges Gilstrap and Yeakel; 2 are stayed but likely to transfer or be dismissed later). This lawsuit is the last active case.
The particular claims of this lawsuit were originally before Judge Yeakel (W.D.Austin), but Uniloc dismissed that case and refiled it before Judge Albright (W.D.Waco). Judge Albright then refused to transfer the case. Note here that Judge Albright is a former patent litigator and is apparently hoping to hear more patent cases, but Waco is not exactly a major industrial-innovation hub. (Aerial view of Waco shown below).
On June 17, the Federal Circuit acted immediately to call up on Uniloc to defend Judge Albright’s “order” (within the next seven days).
After briefing and conducting oral arguments on the transfer motion, Judge Albright immediately denied the motion at the conclusion of telephonic oral arguments on the issue. At that point, the Court did not explain his reasoning, but indicated that a written order would be released soon.
From the transcript:
The Court would like to thank both sides for, really, one of the best arguments I’ve had in front of me. I’m blessed to have this job because the quality of the lawyers is so exceptional in every case I have. But I continue to find with patent cases, I guess, given the issues that are involved, the quality of lawyering just seems to get better and better as I go along.
The briefing was exceptional. The PowerPoints are very helpful. The Court is going to deny the motion to transfer, and we will get a written order out as soon as we can. The Markman is set for Friday afternoon at 1:30.
See Transcript of the Telephonic Motion Hearing Before the Honorable Alan D Albright, Dkt No. 61, May 12, 2020.
Apple Attempting to Shame the Court?: The oral order was May 12, so we are now about one month later later without an explanatory memorandum coming from the judge. The mandamus here appears to be primarily an attempt to shame Judge Albright for his delay in providing an explanatory order during this time. I wonder whether that complaint will fall on deaf ears before the Federal Circuit who regularly take six to nine months to write up their opinions.