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Chief Judge Sleet Grants Motion to Transfer to Southern District of California

Chief Judge Sleet recently granted a motion to transfer in a patent infringement case involving software for managing collision insurance claims. See Audatex N. Am., Inc. v. Mitchell Int’l, Inc., C.A. No. 12-139-GMS, Memorandum Op. at 1 (D. Del. June 28, 2013). Both the plaintiff and defendant are Delaware corporations with principal places of business in San Diego, California. Accordingly, it was clear that the case could have originally been brought in the Southern District of California. Id. at 2-3. Finding that the Third Circuit’s Jumara factors favored transfer on balance, Judge Sleet granted the defendant’s motion to transfer.

Judge Sleet explained that the plaintiff’s choice “to litigate in the forum where it is incorporated, rather than the forum where its principal place of business is located . . . is entitled to less deference than it would typically receive. Consequently, [the plaintiff’s choice of forum] factor weighs against transfer and is accorded heightened, but not maximum, deference as an individual Jumara factor.” Id. at 5-6. Furthermore, although the question of “whether the claim arose elsewhere” is often neutral in patent infringement actions, “because the patent infringement claims arise from infringing products that were designed and manufactured in a single, discrete location, this factor weighs slightly in favor of transfer.” Id. at 6-7. Several other factors, including the convenience of the parties and practical considerations that could make the trial expeditious or inexpensive, also favored transfer, and only the plaintiff’s choice of forum weighed against transfer. Judge Sleet, therefore, concluded that the defendants “met their burden of demonstrating that the interests of justice and convenience strongly favor transfer.” Id. at 17.

Audatex N. Am., Inc. v. Mitchell Int’l, Inc., C.A. No. 12-139-GMS, Memorandum Op. (D. Del. June 28, 2013).

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