The Federal Circuit has issued another writ of mandamus directed at Western District of Texas Judge Alan D. Albright, remanding for dismissal or transfer of the underlying cases out of that district. In September 2021, Judge Albright ruled that venue tied to in-district dealerships can be proper, prompting Hyundai and Volkswagen to seek the Federal Circuit’s help (2022-0108, 2022-0109). Multiple courts and litigants across various campaigns have stalled while awaiting the appeals court’s response, and now they have it, in the form of a per curiam precedentialopinion noting that while mid-litigation remedies are not typically available after the denial of a motion to dismiss for improper venue (as opposed to a ruling on a motion for a convenience transfer), “these cases involve exceptional circumstances warranting immediate review”.
Back in December 2020, StratosAudio, Inc. filed separate cases against automakers Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Zhejiang Geely (Volvo). Infringement allegations centered on the provision of vehicle infotainment systems, but the campaign quickly ran into the issue of whether venue could lie in the Western District of Texas based on the presence of and relationships with car dealerships there. In a pair of September 2021 orders, District Judge Alan D. Albright ruled that venue tied to in-district dealerships can be proper, prompting Hyundai and Volkswagen to seek writs of mandamus from the Federal Circuit on the issue (2022-0108, 2022-0109), rulings now awaited in several other litigation campaigns in Texas.
Inventor-controlled StratosAudio, Inc. has filed its first lawsuits, targeting Hyundai (6:20-cv-01125), Mazda (6:20-cv-01126), Subaru (6:20-cv-01128), Volkswagen (6:20-cv-01131), and Zhejiang Geely (Volvo) (6:20-cv-01129) over the provision of vehicle infotainment systems. At issue are features for providing live-radio streaming services (including Apple Carplay), with Volvo further accused over features for scheduling car maintenance appointments. The plaintiff asserts seven broadcast media patents in each case, with Volvo separately accused of infringing an eighth patent generally related to scheduling “interactive media and events” through a media receiver.