Federal Circuit Denies Petition To Transfer Case Out Of Western Texas
On July 13, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an order denying a petition for a writ of mandamus to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 6:20-cv-00622-ADA, Judge Alan D. Albright, directing transfer. In re: TCO AS, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. July 13, 2021). In its order, the CAFC let stand Judge Albright’s decision denying Petitioner’s motion to transfer.
Patent Owner, a Canadian corporation, and its Houston, Texas based subsidiary, sued petitioner, a Norwegian company, for patent infringement in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. Petitioner moved to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The district court denied the motion, finding that Petitioner had failed to show the transferee venue was clearly more convenient. Petitioner then sought a writ of mandamus from the CAFC directing transfer.
In its order denying the petition, the CAFC explained that it directs transfer only in cases where a district court’s denial of transfer was such a “clear abuse of discretion” that refusing transfer would produce a “patently erroneous result.”
Applying this standard of review, the CAFC noted that the district court found judicial-economy considerations weighed against transfer because of an earlier-filed, pending action in the Western District of Texas against another defendant involving the same patent claims. While the CAFC acknowledged that “a clear abuse of discretion” could theoretically arise in a district court’s balancing judicial economy against the convenience of the parties and witnesses under § 1404, petitioner had not shown that such an abuse occurred in this case.
The CAFC noted, for example, that several potential witnesses are located outside of the proposed transferee venue, including some in the Western District of Texas, and that the only party headquartered in the proposed transferee venue elected to litigate this case in the Western District of Texas.