As the Western District of Texas remains atop the venue charts, an issue of ongoing interest for patent litigants has been how District Judge Alan D. Albright has handled motions to transfer. Most of this narrative has thus far focused on his restrictive approach to convenience transfers, a posture that may be shifting in response to a series of recent reversals by the Federal Circuit. However, less attention has been paid to his treatment of motions alleging improper venue, since—unlike former NPE hotspots like the Eastern District of Texas—many companies have active operations in West Texas, and may therefore “reside” in that venue as established under the Supreme Court’s 2017 TC Heartland decision. While such a venue challenge may not be an option for some defendants, recent orders by Judge Albright suggest that improper venue challenges may succeed in his court for companies with a sufficiently minimal presence there.
Quartz Auto Technologies, LLC has expanded its sole litigation campaign with a new suit against Postmates (1:20-cv-01673)—acquired by Uber earlier this month—in the District of Delaware. The three asserted patents, originating with IBM, generally relate to various aspects of location-based functionality, with the plaintiff’s infringement allegations targeting the Postmates platform (including the Fleet app) over features for “coordinating, controlling, and providing on-demand delivery services” through location data. The new case joins two active February 2020 suits, filed in the Western District of Texas, against Lyft and Uber.