Judge: Rodney Gilstrap
Holding: Motion to Transfer Venue DENIED
Plaintiff is located in Frisco, where Judge Gilstrap noted it has multiple full-time employees, including its CEO, and has since April 2010. With respect to Yahoo!, he Court noted that "[s]ometimes Yahoo argues that it is a Delaware corporation ... [o]ther times it claims to be a Calfornia corporation." It then went through the applicable factors, as I have summarized below.
Private interest factors
With respect to documents, the Court noted that while Yahoo contended that its finance and marketing document were located in California, it admitted that "the engineers who oversee the accused technology as well as employees who perform quality assurance and program management are now (and for the past three years have been) located in Bangalore, India." In addition, the plaintiff had substantial documents in the Eastern District, which were not brought to the district for purposes of the litigation (and in fact had been in Texas since 2005). On balance , Judge Gilstrap concluded that the sources of proof factor and cost of attendance factors ended up neutral. Compulsory process was similarly neutral since neither forum had third party witnesses identified as being in them. With respect to other practical problems, the Court noted that there are two other cases pending in the district involving the asserted patent. It then addressed the issue of judicial economy with respect to the related cases:
In this case, all three Portal cases currently pending in this Court involve common questions of claim construction and validity. While the Court has not formally consolidated these cases for pretrial purposes, the Markman hearing dates for at least two cases (the present case and 2:11-cv-438) are scheduled for the same time and the Court intends, at a minimum, to consolidate the Markman hearing and related briefing between these two cases. Because there are several other Portal cases pending in this Court, traditional notions of judicial economy weigh against transfer.
Public interest factors
With respect to the court congestion factor, although Judge Gilstrap noted that is the “most speculative” of the §1404(a) factors, "a reasonable viewing of the above circumstances leads this Court to conclude that this factor weighs against transfer" because "it is likely that this suit will be resolved more quickly in this Court than if it were transferred to NDCA."
As far as "local interest", Judge Gilstrap noted that "the nature and extent of Yahoo’s operations in NDCA are more significant than the nature and extent of Portal’s operations in EDTX. Accordingly, this factor weighs in favor of transfer, but given the divergence of Yahoo’s operations in India and NDCA, it weighs only slightly in favor of transfer."
As usual, familiarity with the governing law was neutral, and avoidance of conflict of laws did not apply.
"In conclusion," Judge Gilstrap concluded in the aptly-named Conclusion, "this is not a case where NDCA is “clearly more convenient” than EDTX. At most Yahoo has shown only one factor favors transfer while two factors weigh against transfer. The remaining factors are neutral or do not apply at all. Accordingly, and for the reasons set forth above, Yahoo’s motion to transfer venue is DENIED."