In the span of a single week, the Federal Circuit has reversed two more decisions from District Judge Alan D. Albright that denied convenience transfers, granting mandamus for the defendants in two separate cases: one filed by Jenam Tech, LLC against Google and the other filed by Correct Transmission LLC against Juniper Networks. These latest rulings continue a wave of mandamus writs issued in the past few weeks by the Federal Circuit against Judge Albright, the latest skirmish in a long-running battle over his handling of transfer motions that began in mid-2020. While Judge Albright briefly appeared to begin following the court’s guidance earlier this year, these subsequent appellate reversals indicate that the Western District of Texas judge may not intend to change course after all.
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.
Correct Transmission LLC has sued ADTRAN (6:20-cv-00669) and Juniper Networks (6:20-cv-00670) in the Western District of Texas over the provision of various networking products, including routers, switches, multi-service access nodes (MSANs), and network termination equipment (NTE) platforms. The original development work for the five wireless communications patents, each asserted against both defendants, was conducted at Corrigent Systems (later renamed Orckit-Corrigent). Correct Transmission’s campaign is the third to arise from such former Corrigent patents.
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