September 26, 2023

by Dennis Crouch

Within the current case of In re Microsoft, 23-128 (Fed. Cir. 2023), the Federal Circuit as soon as once more granted a writ of mandamus, ordering a patent infringement case to be transferred out of Decide Albright’s courtroom within the Western District of Texas (WDTX). This resolution was made underneath the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which permits for the switch of circumstances for the comfort of the events and within the curiosity of justice.

Microsoft, a multinational company with a major presence in lots of U.S. states, together with Texas, is not any stranger to litigation within the Lone Star state. The corporate’s substantial enterprise actions in Texas, which embrace advertising and marketing, promoting, and servicing the accused merchandise, didn’t considerably influence the 1404(a) jurisprudence on this case.

In 2022, Virtru Company sued Microsoft for infringing three of its information privateness patents: US8589673, US8874902, and US9578021. Microsoft sought to switch the case to the Western District of Washington (WDWA) underneath § 1404(a), citing its incorporation and headquarters in Washington, the situation of the accused expertise’s improvement, and the absence of related operations by both celebration in WDTX.

The Decide Albright denied the movement, concluding that whereas entry to sources of proof and native curiosity barely favored switch, administrative difficulties attributable to court docket congestion disfavored it. The district court docket discovered 27 Microsoft staff in WDWA who have been potential witnesses, but it surely deemed the keen witness issue impartial as a result of Virtru had recognized eight potential celebration witnesses extra conveniently positioned close to (however not in) WDTX.

Within the § 1404(a) mandamus context, the appellate court docket critiques just for clear abuses of discretion that produce patently misguided outcomes. The choice of whether or not to switch a case is dedicated to the district court docket’s discretion, however the district court docket ought to switch when a movant demonstrates that the transferee discussion board is clearly extra handy.

The appellate panel concluded that Decide Albright’s denial of switch was patently misguided. It famous a transparent abuse of discretion within the district court docket’s evaluation of the comfort of potential witnesses. The appellate court docket concluded that the middle of gravity of the motion was clearly within the WDWA, the place nearly all of potential witnesses with related and materials data resided, the place accused product options have been researched, designed, and developed, and the place bodily proof was positioned. The court docket granted the petition, vacated the district court docket’s order denying switch, and directed the district court docket to grant the switch movement.