Dawn Geske Jul. 6, 2016, 12:07pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – A California-based computer company was granted a transfer of venue in an infringement suit with a mobile electronic transaction products manufacturer.

ASUS Computer International (ACI) filed a motion June 1 to transfer the patent infringement case filed by Sentegra in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. ACI wanted the case moved to the Northern District of California because that is where its headquarters are located.

District Judge Gregory H. Woods granted ACI the venue change, stating that Sentegra lacked any meaningful connection to having the case in New York, since its primary place of business was in Colorado. For the case, no witnesses resided in New York or any facts related to the lawsuit took place in New York, giving no reason to hold the case there, he ruled.

The plaintiff argued that having the case held in New York was relevant, as it also had two separate patent infringement lawsuits being heard in New York regarding the same patent. Sentegra also claimed that witnesses for the case would be inconvenienced by traveling from Europe to California for the case and documents necessary for the case were located in New York.

Woods disagreed, saying this was not enough to warrant the case taking place in New York. The judge took into account nine factors to determine if the transfer was necessary. Of the nine, three factors were deemed proof of the need for transfer of the case.

They were the convenience of the witnesses, the convenience of the parties and the location of the relevant documents and ease to access the sources of proof.

“While we can’t say for sure what motivated the defendant to seek a transfer, it is likely that the Northern District of California is a more convenient forum because Defendant’s headquarters and most of its employees were in the Northern District of California,” Lewis Popovski, partner at Patterson Belknap told Legal Newsline.

“As for why the plaintiff wanted to keep the case in New York, it seems cost could be a factor, as the plaintiff had other pending cases against other defendants in New York and wished to have this case heard in the same forum as the others.

“Plaintiffs often make arguments similar to the one that the plaintiff did here – i.e., that a case should stay in a district because of other pending cases in that district – and the court’s rejection of this argument in light of the interests of the defendant and the location of discoverable information shows that this argument does not always work out for the plaintiff.

"Indeed, judicial economy is often cited as a reason to retain separately filed cases having with common subject matter (e.g., the same patents being asserted) rather than transfer numerous cases to numerous other courts and burden their dockets.”

Popovski added, “The ruling itself is not necessarily controlling but is favorable precedent to defendants and may be cited in other motions to transfer.”

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