Posted On: January 19, 2012 by Monté T. Squire

Judge Andrews Distinguishes Fed. Cir.’s Decision in Link_A_Media, Grants Defendants’ Motions to Transfer on Other Grounds

In Wacoh Co. v. Kionix Inc., C.A. No. 10-617-RGA, Judge Andrews recently granted defendants’ motions to transfer after distinguishing the Fed. Cir.’s decision in In re Link_A_Media Devices Corp. and concluding that the “balance of convenience” factors nonetheless tipped in defendants’ favor. Id. at 13. In Wacoh, the plaintiff, a Japanese corporation with its principal place of business in Japan, brought suit in Delaware against three defendants for patent infringement. Id. at 2. The three defendants were all Delaware corporations with principal places of business in New York (Ithaca), California (Pasadena) and California (Sunnyvale), respectively. Id. at 4-5. After filing answers to the complaint denying plaintiff’s allegations of infringement, the three defendants each filed motions to transfer. Id. at 2. Kionix, the defendant with its principal place of business in New York, filed a motion to sever and transfer the case against it to the Northern District of New York. Id. at 2. The other two defendants, VTI and Invensense, filed a joint motion to transfer the cases against them to the Northern District of California. Id. at 2. Following full briefing and oral argument, the Court granted each of the defendants’ motions. Id. at 4, 13. In applying the Third Circuit’s Jumara factors for analyzing § 1404(a) motions to transfer and considering the Fed. Cir.’s recent decision in Link_A_Media, the Court distinguished the facts of this case from those presented in Link_A_Media. Id. at 13. Specifically, the Court noted that, unlike the plaintiff here, the “Link_A_Media plaintiff had substantial connections to the transferee district (that is, its affiliate and its employees, including the inventors, were located there).” Id. at 13. The Court further noted that the conclusion it would draw from Link_A_Media is that “when a plaintiff sues a defendant in District A and the plaintiff, the defendant, and all potential witnesses and evidence are located in District B, and there is no other valid reason for denying a request for transfer to District B, it is an abuse of discretion not to grant the transfer.” Id. at 12-13. Notwithstanding the distinction between the two cases, the Court nonetheless granted defendants’ motions to transfer on the grounds, at least in part, that the plaintiff in this case was a “non-Delaware corporation with no connection of any kind to Delaware.” Id. at 13. Overall, the Court found that in this case the “balance of convenience tips enough in the defendants’ favor.” Id. at 13. The Court’s decision and analysis in this case is particularly noteworthy because it provides some insight as to how the holding in Link_A_Media might be construed and applied going forward.

Wacoh Co. v. Kionix Inc., C.A. No. 10-617-RGA