How many of the lawyers out there liked hypotheticals in law school? I did not, but this case prompted me to write one! So, for those of you who enjoy hypotheticals, here it is:
Company A, a North Carolina LLC, owns four patents. A new company is formed, Company B, a Texas LLC. Company B has the same corporate address in North Carolina and the same five shareholders as Company A. Company B conducts no business activities. About 20 days after Company B is formed, Company A assigns its four patents to Company B, with an agreement that gives Company B the rights to sue for patent infringement only in the district court for the Western District of Texas. (And assume that the Western District of Texas is a very fast and favorable court for plaintiffs in patent infringement cases.) About ten days after the assignment, Company B files two lawsuits for patent infringement in the Western District of Texas, alleging that the defendants sell mobile devices that use third party applications that infringe the patents. The defendants move to transfer the cases to the district court in the Northern District of California on grounds of convenience. They allege that the Western District of Texas is not the proper venue because most of the third-party applications were researched and developed in the Northern District of California, while none were developed in the Western District of Texas, and several witnesses and inventors were located in the Northern District of California, while none were in the Western District of Texas. Here’s the question: Should the district court for the Western District of Texas grant the motions to transfer?
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