In re: Juniper Networks

By Jason Rantanen

In re: Juniper Networks (Panel: Judges Lourie, Bryson, Taranto)

By my count, it’s been over a month and a half since the Federal Circuit issued a decision granting a petition for writ of mandamus arising from the Western District of Texas.  (That decision was In re: Hulu on August 2, 2021.)  That streak has come to an end, as today the court issued In re: Juniper Networks.

Like other petitions for a writ of mandamus arising from the Western District of Texas, Juniper Networks, Inc.’s petition concerned the denial of a request for transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).  The case itself involves an assertion of patent infringement by WSOU Investments LLC (referred to as “Brazos”) against Juniper that was filed in the Western District of Texas.  Juniper, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California (for those who aren’t familiar with the area, that’s Silicon Valley), moved to transfer to the Northern District of California.  Judge Albright denied the motion, reasoning that under the four private interest and four public interest factors governing which district is more convenient, Juniper had not established that the Northern District of California was a clearly more convenient forum for this litigation.

The Federal Circuit reversed in a per curium opinion.  Under the law of the Fifth Circuit, “a motion to transfer venue pursuant to section 1404(a) should be granted if ‘the movant demonstrates that the transferee venue is clearly more convenient.'” Slip Op. at 6, quoting In re Radmax, Ltd., 720 F.3d 285 (5th Cir. 2013).  Here, Judge Albright committed legal errors that required the granting of the petition.

Starting at the top, “the relative convenience for and cost of attendance of witnesses between the two forums is ‘probably the single most important factor in transfer analysis.'”  Slip Op. at 7, quoting In re Genentech, Inc., 566 F.3d 1338, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2009).  Here, the district court didn’t give it the appropriate weight, especially since there was a big imbalance in terms of witness convenience.  Instead, the district court cited its own prior decisions for giving little weight to the identified witnesses – which was a problem since those propositions had previously been directly rejected by the Federal Circuit.

The district court also erred in its application of the local interest factor.  Most of the events forming the basis for Brazos’s infringement claims occurred in the Northern District of California and none occurred in the Western District of Texas.  This was enough to give the tranferee court a local interest.  Contrary to the district court’s reasoning, Juniper’s lease of a small office in Austin by the defendant for something that had no connection with the accused products wasn’t sufficient to establish a local interest.  A company’s general presence in a district are not enough to establish a local interest comparable to the events that gave rise to the suit.  Nor was Brazos’s status as a Waco-based entity incorporated in Texas entitled to significant weight: “The office was established only a few months before the complaints against Juniper were filed, and the activities of the office are largely tied to bring lawsuits in that court.  Brazos has only two employees who work from Waco, one of whom is its in-house attorney responsible for litigation.  The principal officers of Brazos are located in California.”  Slip Op. at 10.  “We have noted in other mandamus cases that little or no weight should be accorded to a party’s ‘recent and ephemeral’ presence in the transferor forum, such as by establishing an office in order to claim a presence in the district for purposes of litigation.”  Id.

The Federal Circuit also concluded that the district court erred in its assessment of the sources of proof and need for compulsory service factors, but the most interesting to me was the the final error that the Federal Circuit identified: the district court’s conclusion that the court-congestion factor weighed against transfer based on Brazos’s assertion that the Texas forum had a faster median time to trial than the California forum.  But, the Federal Circuit pointed out, the district judge’s “faster time to trial” statistic was based on scheduled trial dates (my emphasis), i.e.: those set out in Judge Albright’s aggressive scheduling order.  In any event, the Federal Circuit concluded that the relative speed with which this case may be brought to trial was not of particular significance, as the “court congestion” factor is the “most speculative of the factors bearing on the transfer decision.” Slip Op. at 14.

Ultimately, the Federal Circuit concluded, this was essentially the same as the recent decisions in Samsung and Hulu, both of involved situations in which several of the most important factors strongly favored the transferee court and no factor favored retaining the case in the transferor court.

As an ending note, the Federal Circuit also denied a petition for a writ of mandamus arising from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in In re: Fermin on the basis that “mandamus relief is not appropriate when a petition fails to seek relief through the normal appeal process.”  Here, the petitioner’s prior appeal to the Federal Circuit had been dismissed for lack of subject matter, the petitioner had filed a motion to reconsider at the Veterans’ Court (which the court denied), and had not appealed the Veterans’ Court’s denial of that motion.  “Because [the petitioner] here failed to seek review of the Veterans Court’s order by way of a timely filed direct appeal, we must deny his request for this extraordinary relief.”  Slip Op. at 2.

46 thoughts on “In re: Juniper Networks

  1. 7

    Here’s another one reported on Gene’s blog:
    “Federal Circuit Grants Mandamus to Apple, Orders Albright to Vacate Transfer from Austin to Waco – On Friday, October 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit continued its trend of granting mandamus petitions on transfer motions, ordering the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to vacate its order transferring a case between Apple, Inc. and Fintiv, Inc. from the Austin Division of the Western District of Texas to the Waco Division. The CAFC said the district court cited no statutory authority for its re-transfer and Austin remains the more convenient forum.”

  2. 6

    link to ipwatchdog.com

    I generally agree with this analysis.

    I also think that Dennis should evaluate his policies on this blog and to access just how anti-patent this blog is. Dennis provides a forum (safe) for people that do not provide us with evidence that they are not working for Silicon Valley or that they aren’t corrupt. We have no way of knowing if Lee, for example, did what she did at the USPTO to get $10 million from SV when she left office. This is common in DC and anyone can do a google search on it to find many watchdog groups opposed to people like Lee who go from corporate to government and then back to corporate. This is considered the corruption highway.

    Anyway…

    1. 6.1

      Test:

      strikethrough

      hmm

    2. 6.2

      as to your comment, meh, I would prefer that access be open (AND consistent).

      I really do not care if some partaking of that access ARE expounding the view of Efficient Infringers. The views in and of themselves should be available to be heard and discussed.

      1. 6.2.1

        The issue is what are these views? Where do they come from? The problem is presenting “views” as if they are from an academic or non-corrupt person rather than paid propaganda from SV.

        Stop being so weak minded.

        1. 6.2.1.1

          lol- your accusation fits you.

          But I will give you a shot to explain: what exactly is ‘weak-minded’ in my call to open up conversation avenues?

  3. 5

    There is another, and important, part of this Fed. Cir. mandamus decision that is quoted [below] on the Post-Grant Blog. [Important because J. Albright is openly against any of the huge number of patent suit defendants on his docket getting IPR opportunities, as the Court here inferentially notes]:
    “..the district court erred in weighing against transfer the likelihood that the California court would stay proceedings pending the Patent Office’s review. The inter partes review process, like other post-issuance review proceedings, was designed to give the agency an opportunity to correct its mistakes, to give courts the benefit of the agency’s consideration of the effect of prior art on patents being asserted in litigation, and to reduce the burden of litigation on the parties and the courts. . . .For that reason, the willingness of a court in the transferee forum to consider granting stays pending inter partes review (and the disposition of the transferor court not to grant such stays) is not a justification for denying transfer.”

    1. 5.1

      is openly against any of the huge number of patent suit defendants on his docket getting IPR opportunities

      Really?

      Rah Rah Rah (as the IPR cheerleader continues…)

    1. 4.1

      D can censor all he likes, everyone on the board is still going to know that women all of a sudden like because the gud girlz at studying and shot up from 51% of college attendance to 60% attendance. So we should be expecting them to dominate in all fields soon, and then they won’t be able to find husbands higher status than themselves, and won’t be married 10 years later, and it’ll be all men’s “fault”. No amount of sexist tripe from leftists will cover this up, or stop the ramifications from happening.

      1. 4.1.1

        Meh, I was not commenting on the ‘substance’ of your off topic posts — merely pointing out that the Heckler’s Veto was applied.

        Regardless of your chosen topic, these pages are RIFE with off topic meanderings. That yours were eliminated because someone whined is what was earmarked. Whining is simply not objectively or evenly “reacted to.”

        1. 4.1.1.1

          Well I mean to be fair, he can take down whatever he likes, it is his blog, and we’re supposed to stay on topic. Greg and D’s fellow leftists are of course sensitive to accidental inconvenient truths being shown against their ideology working out to fully automated space commieisms. And I’m kind of just making them take it down when posting such.

          Fact is though that actually is on topic of patents, as the more women crammed into unis then you will see most likely fewer and fewer innovations made as most innovations come from college educated evil protrusion havers.

          Looking on the bright side however, if we can go ahead and boost women’s numbers up from the rookie nums of 60% up to 100% then perhaps they will permit the underclass of protrusion havers to found their own schools.

          1. 4.1.1.1.1

            Well I mean to be fair, he can take down whatever he likes, it is his blog,

            Certainly. However, an active editing mode that broaches content control — and is shaping the message on the boards — has its risks…

            (on a tangential note: link to ipwatchdog.com )

            1. 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep and even the somewhat progressive Breaking Points (Krystal and Saargar are usual hosts) youtube show ran a thing just now about how bad the gender breakdown in college is going to be for decades and the gigantic ramifications for decades esp if this doesn’t balance back out bar a miracle. Maybe greg and bros will like that progressive show bemoaning the same thing.

              link to youtube.com

    1. 3.1

      The current theories of how neurons process information are clearly too simplistic.

      I don’t think the question of consciousness is all that interesting. It is merely what is current being processed in your head that you can communicate. Roughly speaking.

      1. 3.1.1

        Perhaps your interest in consciousness might be invigorated if you consider that any physical mechanism may well be directly tied to (as you portray) the ‘magic’ of [directed**] information processing — as ‘conjured’ by certain Supreme Court Justices, as well as may play a more critical role in the AI as inventor discussion.

        ** Of course, it should be noted that the heavy caveat on NOT limiting invention ‘by the how’ (through 35 USC 103) exists, so attempts to limit a ‘how’ to being the result of [directed] conscience may rest on shaky legislative grounds.

  4. 2

    Judge Albright is gonna need to up his game or these will just become pro forma.

    1. 2.1

      Judge Albright is gonna need to up his game or these will just become pro forma.
      This is more about the facts than Judge Albright.

      1. 2.1.1

        Yes, it’s about facts. Name any other District Court judge who has ever had this many factual Fed. Cir. mandamus reversals this fast?

        1. 2.1.1.1

          Name any other District Court judge who has ever had this many factual Fed. Cir. mandamus reversals this fast?
          That comment didn’t age well. Albright was 2-1 in today’s decisions.

          Regardless, it should come to no surprise that an anti-patent Federal Circuit will be frequently granting petitions to transfer to an anti-patent Northern District of California. Oh … and the 1 loss by Albright today was because the petitioner was Google — one of the coddled darlings of the Federal Circuit.

          1. 2.1.1.1.1

            “That comment didn’t age well. Albright was 2-1 in today’s decisions.”

            You’re responding with a single day’s worth of opinions to a question that was not about a single day. That is an embarrassing answer.

            And if we are going to cherry pick a single day’s worth of data… how many district judges had no mandamus reversals today?

      2. 2.1.2

        I have to agree with the typical Anti’s here, Wt – this IS about Judge Albright (and the facts surrounding this particular judge).

        1. 2.1.2.1

          the facts surrounding this particular judge
          One of the very few (can anyone name another?) district court judges who actually has extensive experience as both a magistrate judge working patent cases and subsequently as a patent litigator (representing both sides of the ‘v’).

          With that in mind, it becomes quite clear why plaintiffs want to be in his court. He understands the process and will be far less likely be bamboozled by defense attorneys who know that most district court judges want nothing to do with a patent case (and thus, will do whatever they can to get it off their docket). God forbid that a judge who knows something about patent law actually presides over a patent infringement trial. I can understand the handwringing.

          1. 2.1.2.1.1

            Wt,

            You will find no disagreement from me for this latest post of yours.

            That being said, there is no change in the veracity of my comment to which you are responding to.

        2. 2.1.2.2

          Don’t be weak minded anon.

          1. 2.1.2.2.1

            There is absolutely ZERO ‘weak-minded’ about my post, Night Writer.

            Read it again – the objective observation is that THIS is about the judge.

            And it is.

            Note as well that I fully agree with Wt’s replying comments – but those simply do not change the facts that this is targeting a specific judge.

            I make NO representations that such targeting is either good or appropriate.

    2. 2.2

      Actually, if you count up all the mandamus petitions in which Judge Albright is upheld vs those in which he is overturned, he is winning by about 2 to 1. That is to say, mandamus is denied about twice as often as it is granted.

      Mind you, granting 1 in 3 mandamus requests is a terrible record for a district judge. I doubt that most district judges are ever overturned on mandamus. Still and all, at 2:1 upheld, the decisions are never going to be “pro forma.” Clearly, the CAFC is considering each petition conscientiously.

      The reason why it feels as if Judge Albright is always being overturned is that even when the CAFC upholds Albright’s denial of transfer, they ding him for faulty analysis on the way to a conclusion that his slipshod work, nevertheless, does not rise to the demanding level necessary for mandamus. Just this morning, for example, the CAFC issued three orders, two of which denied mandamus while saying that Judge Albright’s legal analysis was flawed, and one of which granted mandamus. Judge Albright is creating a lot of extra work for the CAFC, but they are nowhere close to the point where they treat mandamus petitions from his court as pro forma matters that they can simply grant without thinking about it.

        1. 2.2.1.1

          Ha!

      1. 2.2.2

        >his slipshod work,

        One man’s slipshod work is another man’s cutting edge precedent.

        1. 2.2.2.1

          I suppose that cuts both ways (vis a vis the US Supreme Court)…

        2. 2.2.2.2

          One man’s slipshod work
          Remember, that’s the Federal Circuit opinion of his work — a Federal Circuit whose opinions very frequently misstate both facts and law and are hopelessly irreconcilable on certain issues. Like they have a lot of credibility.

          1. 2.2.2.2.1

            I agree Wandering. The Federal Circuit is a stacked court filled with some of the worst people I’ve ever seen as judges. They are right up there with some of the local state judges I’ve had to deal with who pretty much make it clear that they are open to bribes.

          2. 2.2.2.2.2

            The reason the CAFC are so bad is that their goal is to weaken patents. They are anti-patent judicial activists.

            Most of the problems –if not all–are because of these terrible judges at the CAFC. They don’t have the experience nor the desire to understand patent law.

            Look at Williamson, which is clear error. A person of ordinary skill in algorithms in computer science does not need a known algorithm with the changes displayed in its entirety for the specification to be enabled or for the written description “requirement” to be met. It is judicial activism by Taranto and Moore, who I’ve always said is an i d i o t, backed him up.

            But the big point is that if their goal was get the patent system working properly, the right judges could do it in a few years without Congress.

            1. 2.2.2.2.2.1

              Maybe a good compromise would be to end the CAFC and return patent appeals to the regional circuits?

              Sure with the CAFC judges being as awful as you think, that compromise would be something of an improvement?

              1. 2.2.2.2.2.1.1

                How is such a “compromise?”

                Returning to the various circuits has no offering of making things better, plus the problems WITH the circuit arrangement would be layered in atop the problems.

                Your “solution” is no solution.

          3. 2.2.2.2.3

            Taranto’s intent is not to make the patent system work but to weaken patents. Many of his colleagues are dolts that he can get to go along with him.

          4. 2.2.2.2.4

            Absolutely agree with you here as well, Wt.

        3. 2.2.2.3

          One man’s slipshod work is another man’s cutting edge precedent.

          The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, of course. I could easily imagine one of the many aggrieved parties in these cases chasing the mandamus up to SCotUS review, and the CAFC being reversed.

          If so, however, I am hard pressed to imagine the Court reversing the CAFC on the grounds that Judge Albright’s work was impeccable. His approach to analyzing the transfer factors really is appalling (convenience of party witnesses deserves no weight, really?!?).

          The CAFC may have gotten these cases wrong, but not because Judge Albright’s work was anything better than slipshod.

          1. 2.2.2.3.1

            Or Judge Albright is just pushing the boundaries of what the law is and trying to call the hand of the CAFC judges to force them to make the law clear.

            I think it is refreshing for a judge not to worry about being reversed.

      2. 2.2.3

        Even when the Fed Cir denies mandamus, they usually still say that Judge Albright erred. Denial of mandamus is in NO WAY a stamp of approval. There is no sugar coating it, the WDTX is a rogue jurisdiction that doesn’t think it needs to follow governing precedent. I predict that now that his claim construction orders (which have no reasoning at all) are coming up on appeal, he will be the most frequently overturned district judge on issues of claim construction as well.

        1. 2.2.3.1

          is a rogue jurisdiction that doesn’t think it needs to follow governing precedent.

          LOL – I bet you miss the irony that this same statement applies to the US Supreme Court and the CAFC as well, eh?

          (think: Gordian Knot)

  5. 1

    “Instead, the district court cited its own prior decisions for giving little weight to the identified witnesses – which .. propositions had previously been directly rejected by the Federal Circuit.”
    This [and the other elements of this additional granted Mandamus] seem to suggest that a Fed. Cir. “whack a mole” program is still in force, and needed, for Waco TX venue-grabbing-chutzpah attempts by local PAEs?

    1. 1.1

      ” and needed, for Waco TX venue-grabbing-chutzpah attempts by local PAEs?”

      Huh? Are you saying this is the PAES fault?

      1. 1.1.1

        Ben, it takes two to tango – the PAE attorney brought the suit in Waco and presumably even in Waco has to present factual arguments in support of it’s alleged venue when that is challenged.

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