The IP Litigation Team at Fried Frank is continuously tracking the impact of TC Heartland. Every week, we provide a roundup of the courts’ latest orders and opinions concerning venue-related issues in patent infringement cases.
Meaning of “Regular and Established Place of Business”
In University of South Florida Research Foundation Inc. v. Agfa HealthCare Corp., No. 16-cv-3106 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 29, 2017), the court granted the defendant’s motion to transfer for improper venue. The court held that the presence of 47 employees working from home in Florida was insufficient to establish venue under In re Cray because the defendant had not “established” or “ratified” the employees’ homes as its places of business, such as through storage of inventory. The court also held that the presence of a corporate affiliate in the district could not support venue with respect to the defendant where the defendant’s corporate disclosure and affidavit had shown that the two had not ignored corporate formalities. Since the plaintiff failed to allege any facts to the contrary, the court found “no reason” to allow it additional discovery on the relationship between the two entities.
In University of South Florida Research Foundation Inc. v. EIZO, Inc., No. 16-cv-3110 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 2, 2018), the court granted the defendant’s motion to transfer for improper venue, holding that the presence of a corporate affiliate in the district was insufficient to establish venue with respect to the defendant. Specifically, the court found sufficient basis in the defendant’s affidavit to determine that the defendant was a separate legal entity from its affiliate. The court also determined that the plaintiff failed to plead facts suggesting that the two entities ignored corporate formalities and, as such, the court found “no reason” to allow the plaintiff additional discovery on the relationship between the two entities.
TC Heartland Transfer Issues
In Fundamental Innovation Systems International LLC v. LG Electronics, Inc., No. 16-cv-01425 (E.D. Tex. Dec. 28, 2017), the court denied the defendants’ motion to transfer for convenience under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) because they had not met their burden in showing that the District of New Jersey would have had personal jurisdiction over the Alabama defendant. The court held that a registration to do business in New Jersey was insufficient for purposes of establishing personal jurisdiction. The court also rejected the defendants’ argument that “if jurisdiction and venue [were] adequate [in Texas], [then] jurisdiction and venue should be adequate in New Jersey.” The court noted that the defendants never argued that venue was improper in Texas, even though their motion to transfer was two weeks after the decision in TC Heartland.