Judge Stark Denies Defendants’ Motions to Transfer to N.D. Cal. After Carefully Considering the Fed. Cir.’s Ruling in In Re Link_A_Media
In Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Altera Corp., C.A. No. 10-1065-LPS, after carefully considering and analyzing the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in In re Link_A_Media Devices Corp., 662 F.3d 1221, 1224 (Fed. Cir. 2011), Judge Stark denied defendants’ motions to transfer venue to the Northern District of California. Id. at 1. In this case, plaintiffs, both Delaware limited liability companies with their principal places of business in Washington, initially filed suit against three of the four defendants in the District of Delaware for patent infringement, and later amended the Complaint to add the fourth defendant. Id. at 2-3. All four defendants are Delaware corporations with headquarters on the West Coast, with three of the four defendants being headquartered and having their principal places of business in California. Id. at 1-2, 13. In addition, all four defendants have research and development facilities in the Northern District of California, where most of the development activities for the various accused products are alleged to have occurred. Id. at13. Based in large part on these grounds, the defendants moved to transfer the case to the Northern District of California. Id. at 3, 13. The Court, however, denied defendants’ motions, concluding that, overall, defendants had “failed to satisfy their burden of showing that the balance of convenience factors and interests of justice weigh strongly in favor of transfer.” Id. at 24. In analyzing the relevant private and public interest factors identified by the Third Circuit, the Court concluded, among other things, that because a corporate entity’s state of incorporation was part of its “home turf,” plaintiff’s choice of Delaware as a litigation forum in this action was entitled to “paramount consideration.” Id. at 12. Most notably, in considering and distinguishing the Federal Circuit’s ruling in Link_A_Media, the Court offered the following observations: (1) “while Link_A_Media certainly contains guidance for how this Court must conduct its review of a motion to transfer, the decision has not altered the fundamental fact that Section 1404(a) is intended to place discretion in the district court to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an ‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness”; (2) unlike here, “the plaintiff in Link_A_Media was not a Delaware entity and . . . had no connection to Delaware whatsoever” and (3) “the Federal Circuit believed the District Court in Link_A_Media had accorded dispositive weight to a single private factor (defendant’s state of incorporation) and had refused to consider two other private factors (convenience of witnesses and location of books and records).” Id. at 10 (internal quotations and citations omitted). This decision provides yet another example of and further insight as to the Court’s analysis of motions to transfer post-Link_A_Media.