In re: Roku, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2023)
IOEngine sued Roku for patent infringement back in 2021. As is common with large corporate defendants sued in Waco, Roku asked Judge Albright to transfer the case to N.D. California on convenience grounds under 28 U.S.C. 1404. Judge Albright refused — noting that Roku’s corporate witness lacked credibility and his testimony was “either misleading or based on an inadequate investigation of the facts.” In particular, the record showed several Roku employees with “particularly relevant knowledge” of the case located in the W.D. Tex. (Austin), but that Roku had indicated all potential employee witnesses were located in Northern California.
Still, Roku petitioned for mandamus with some confidence, having seen the Federal Circuit previously repeatedly nitpick the work of Judge Albright on transfer motions. Although Roku did not expressly claim that Judge Albright was biased, it did argue a failure of “objective assessment” (essentially the equivalent).
Objectively assessing the facts shows that the [Roku] employees in WDTX identified by IOENGINE do not possess relevant material information. And, even if they do, their knowledge is, at best, cumulative to the knowledge of Roku employees in NDCA.
Roku Petition. Of course, the second sentence suggests the problem with Roku’s argument.
In the end here, the appellate panel did not move forward — holding that denial of transfer was not a “clear abuse of discretion” since the district court considered the relevant factors in its conclusion that Roku failed to show that the Northern District of California was clearly more convenient.