Recently, the Federal Circuit denied three petitions for writs of mandamus seeking to order the Western District of Texas to transfer cases. We have been following these cases because they attracted amicus briefs. This afternoon we will post three updates summarizing the court’s orders. Up first is in In re Apple Inc. On August 4, the Federal Circuit issued an order in this case denying a petition for a writ of mandamus. Judge Reyna authored the order, indicating on behalf of himself and Judges Chen and Stoll that “we cannot say that Apple has shown entitlement to this extraordinary relief.” Here is a summary of the case and the order.
Apple Inc. petitioned for a writ of mandamus to direct the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. As indicated, Judges Reyna, Chen, and Stoll heard the case. The court, in an order authored by Judge Reyna, described the facts of the case in some detail:
Koss Corporation filed the underlying patent infringement suit against Apple Inc. in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. Apple maintains its principal place of business in Cupertino, California, but also has a large corporate campus in Austin, Texas. Apple moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer the infringement action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. . . . The district court considered the convenience factors and explained its reasoning at length. It noted that two non-party potential witnesses reside in the Western District of Texas who were unwilling to travel to California to testify, . . . that Apple appeared to rely on a number of employee witnesses within the transferee venue that were not likely to be called at trial as well as employee witnesses residing hundreds of miles outside of the transferee venue, . . . and that one of the inventors was willing to travel from California to Texas to testify . . . . The district court further found that judicial economy considerations weighed against transfer because of co-pending lawsuits concerning the same patents in the same judicial division . . . and that there were connections between the Western District of Texas and events that gave rise to this suit. . . . The district court denied the motion. Apple filed this petition seeking a writ of mandamus directing transfer.
The court first described the standard of review for a writ of mandamus, indicating that the “petitioner must establish, among other things, that the right to mandamus relief is ‘clear and indisputable.’” Also, the court noted it will not “replace a district court’s exercise of discretion with our own; we review only for clear abuses of discretion that produce patently erroneous results.”
The court then stated that “Apple has not satisfied that exacting standard here.” Interestingly, the panel noted the “district court’s analysis was not free of error” because “it improperly diminished the importance of the convenience of witnesses merely because they were employees of the parties.” The panel, however, after noting the district court’s analysis of the convenience factors, stated that it “cannot say that Apple has shown entitlement to this extraordinary relief.”