I thought I’d write to congratulate my partner, Anthony Garza, for having a great week at the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit, on February 11 and 12, 2015, returned two decisions in favor of firm clients (United Access Technologies and Babbage Holdings).
In United Access Technologies v. CenturyTel (decision available here), the Federal Circuit held that collateral estoppel did not apply to United Access’ infringement claim, despite an earlier unfavorable general jury verdict against United Access’ predecessor-in-interest to the patents-in-suit. The district court had found that the jury’s verdict against the patentee in the earlier action worked collateral estoppel in the instant case, thereby precluding United Access’ infringement claim against CenturyTel. The Federal Circuit reversed, writing:
The essence of United’s argument is as follows: The JMOL order in the EarthLink case established only that the jury could permissibly have reached its verdict on either of two possible grounds—either that EarthLink’s system did not infringe because it lacked a telephone or that the standard ADSL technology was not within the scope of the patents in suit. The EarthLink JMOL decision therefore did not establish that the jury necessarily based its verdict on a conclusion that the standard ADSL technology did not infringe United’s patents. Accordingly, it was improper for the district court to hold that United is collaterally estopped from litigating that issue in this case.
That analysis is correct.
In In re Konami (available here), the Federal Circuit rejected Konami’s attempt to have Babbage’s patent infringement case transferred from Texas to California via a writ of mandamus. The Federal Circuit denied the mandamus petition, writing:
In denying transfer, the district court explained that “Konami’s entire Motion consist[ed] of one page with four paragraphs of argument,” and, by contrast, “Babbage . . . provide[d] twenty pages (not including exhibits) of response and analysis to the specific 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) factors.” Babbage Holdings, LLC v. Konami Digital Entm’t, 2:13-cv-754-JRG, slip op. at 3 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 29, 2014). Moreover, while Konami referenced a different case involving Babbage Holdings that was transferred, it was pointed out to the court that Konami was not actually headquartered in the Northern District of California and did not identify its own witnesses or documents within the transferee district. Id.
The party seeking transfer bears the burden of proving that there is sufficient cause for transfer of venue. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304, 315 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc); cf. In re Apple Inc., 743 F.3d 1377, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (noting the relevance of the movant’s failed submission of sufficient evidence to suggest that transfer was appropriate). Given the nature of Konami’s transfer motion, we cannot say that it was a clear abuse of discretion for the district court to conclude that Konami did not meet its burden in this regard.