Court Rejects Pre-Litigation Acts to Manipulate Venue
In In re Samsung Elecs Co., No. 2021-139 (Fed. Cir. June 3, 2021),the Federal Circuit granted mandamus, ordering the transfer of pending cases by Ikorongo Tech and Ikorongo Texas against Samsung and LG from the WDTX to the NDCA. The district court denied transfer, holding that the case could not have been brought in the NDCA because Ikorongo Texas was only entitled to enforce its “rights to the patent within the prescribed geographic region” in the WDTX.
The Federal Circuit disagreed, finding this conclusion “erroneous because the district court disregarded the pre-litigation acts by Ikorongo Tech and Ikorongo Texas aimed at manipulating venue.” Ikoronogo Texas was created and assigned targeted geographic rights to the asserted patent only in select Texas counties within the WDTX region in the month before filing suit in the WDTX. The Court found that Ikorongo Texas conducts no other business in the WDTX. Absent such manipulation, the Federal Circuit determined that the case could have been brought in the NDCA, which was found to be more convenient under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The Court thus granted the defendants’ petitions for writs of mandamus, directing the district court to grant the motions to transfer to the NDCA.