The family of late inventor Charles C. Freeny, Jr. has begun fighting to stay in the Eastern District of Texas in the wake of venue challenges in nearly all of its active cases. The day that the US Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands (2016-0341), defendant Oki Group (Oki Data) (a Delaware corporation) (2:17-cv-00186) filed a motion to dismiss the case against it due to improper venue, alleging that it does not “reside” in the Eastern District and that it does not have a “regular and established place of business” there. Plaintiffs Bryan E. Freeny, Charles C. Freeny III, and James P. Freeny responded by filing an amended complaint on May 31, alleging proper venue in the Eastern District because Oki allegedly committed “acts of infringement” and has “a regular and established place of business” there. The complaint further pleads that Oki’s contractual relationships with authorized dealers and service providers in the district make those entities Oki’s agents.
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Individual plaintiffs Bryan E. Freeny, Charles C. Freeny III, and James P. Freeny have added Sears (2:16-cv-01052) as the latest defendant in their price management campaign, accusing the retailer of infringing two patents (6,076,071; 6,513,016) generally related to a central price storage system that communicates with local stores, where the local stores can also have site-specific prices. The named inventor for the ‘071 and ‘016 patents is Charles C. Freeny, Jr., the plaintiffs’ father, an electrical engineer who passed away in 2003. Sears is accused of infringing the two patents through use of digital price signs at its stores.