Last October, in response to a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Alphabet (Google), the Federal Circuit ordered District Judge Alan D. Albright to transfer a case filed by Jenam Tech, LLC from West Texas to Northern California. The next day, the court did so, transferring that case, as well as a second one between the same parties to the Northern District of California, which has since consolidated the two actions under a single case number (4:21-cv-07994). A likely direct consequence of that transfer is the stay that District Judge Jon S. Tigar imposed in that consolidated case in late March, to allow certain Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings to run their courses. Jenam Tech has since filed four new cases against Google in the same district (5:22-cv-02836, 5:22-cv-02837, 3:22-cv-02838, 3:22-cv-02839), over more recent patents in the same family, pleading that “Jenam will promptly move to stay . . . under the terms governing the stay currently in place in the two consolidated related cases”.
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 reported in more detail last week, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed on March 8, in response to a mandamus petition filed by TracFone Wireless, that courts must prioritize the resolution of transfer motions. The decision imposed a stay in a case brought by Precis Group LLC against Tracfone until District Judge Alan D. Albright ruled on a pending motion to dismiss or transfer the case. Three days later, on March 11, Judge Albright issued the required ruling—denying the motion—but the appellate order appears likely to ripple beyond the Precis-TracFone litigation, particularly given the number of patent cases now filed in the Western District of Texas.