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Chief Judge Sleet Grants Transfer to Northern District of California

OpenTV, a Delaware corporation with a California principal place of business, sued Netflix, also a Delaware corporation with a California principal place of business, for infringement of patents related to technologies for “over-the-top” delivery of movies, television, and other media via the Internet. Netflix filed a motion to transfer to the Northern District of Delaware, which Chief Judge Sleet granted.

Considering the Third Circuit’s Jumara factors, Judge Sleet found that “[a]lthough the plaintiff’s choice of venue is ordinarily entitled to deference, its preference is ‘entitled to less than the paramount consideration’ when it files suit where it is incorporated but not physically located. Here, OpenTV’s preferred forum is Delaware, where it is incorporated, but Open TV’s principal place of business is in Northern California. Therefore, the court will not accord substantial weight to OpenTV’s choice of Delaware.” This factor, therefore, weighed slightly in favor of transfer to California. OpenTV, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., C.A. No. 12-1733-GMS, Memo. at 3 (D. Del. Mar. 31, 2014) (citations omitted). Additional facts that weighed in favor of transfer included that the accused products were developed in California, the parties could more easily and cost-effectively litigate in California, and relevant witnesses including the inventors and third party witnesses were in California. Id. at 4-8.

OpenTV, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., C.A. No. 12-1733-GMS (D. Del. Mar. 31, 2014).

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