By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Leonard P. Stark in Human Genome Sciences, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-082-LPS (D.Del., July 18, 2011), the Court granted the motion of defendants, Genetech, Inc. and City of Hope, to transfer venue of three actions filed against them in the District of Delaware by plaintiff, Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (“HGS”), to the Central District of California. Id. at 1. The transferred actions involve claims asserted by HGS against defendants for declaratory judgment, antitrust and Lanham Act violations, and state tort claims based on two patents co-owned by defendants: U.S. Patent No. 6, 331,415 (the “Cabilly II patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 7,923,221 (the “Cabilly III patent”). Id.
A complete copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached hereto.
In granting defendants’ motion to transfer venue, the Court recognized that defendants had a heavy burden to meet: “unless the burden of convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum should prevail.” Id. at 4 (internal citations omitted). However, the Court also recognized that the Cabilly II patent has been involved in numerous other cases in the Central District of California and that “[a] motion to transfer may also be granted if there is a related case which has been first filed or otherwise is the more appropriate vehicle to litigate the issues between the parties.” Id. at 2 and 5.
Thus, after analyzing all of the applicable factors, the Court noted that “the analysis here turns on a balance between the weight due to HGS’s choice of forum and the practical consideration of Judge Pfaelzer’s experience with the Cabilly II patent and willingness to preside over these litigations.” Id. at 21. The Court concluded that, under the circumstances present, the latter factor should be accorded “heavy, indeed decisive, weight.” Id. Accordingly, the Court granted defendants’ motion to transfer venue.