In re TracFone Wireless, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2021)
In its second go-round in the case, the Federal Circuit has ordered District Court Judge Albright to grant TracFone’s motion to transfer its case to the S.D.Fla. on convenience grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). “We conclude that the district court clearly abused its discretion in denying transfer under § 1404(a).” Generally, Section 1404(a) provides substantial discretion to the district court to determine whether or not to transfer a case to a different venue. The statutory guidelines focus on “the convenience of parties and witnesses [and] the interest of justice”
In its opinion, the appellate panel walked through the parties/witnesses:
- Patentee Precis is a Delaware company with “no disclosed place of business.”
- The key inventor likely to testify (Karvenon) lives in Mankato.
- The attorney involved in patent prosecution likely to testify lives in Arizona.
- Defendant TracFone is also a Delaware company, its principal place of business is in Miami Florida. TracFone has identified for Florida-Based witnesses likely to testify.
Effectively, there is no reason for this case to be in Waco, Texas. Still, the district court explained that the convenience here, in his discretion, did not rise to being “clearly more convenient” so as to demand transfer. On appeal, the Federal Circuit disagreed — finding the district court’s conclusion “clearly flawed.”
The court did not reach the issue of improper venue that was also raised.
Read it here: TracFone Decision April 2021