In September 2009, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham IV of the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall denied a motion for a change of venue in a patent infringement case. That decision failed to pass muster with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In a Dec. 3 decision in In Re: Acer America Corp., et al., a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit granted a petition for writ of mandamus to defendants in the underlying patent infringement case, MedioStream Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., et al. The Federal Circuit’s opinion provides the following background on the case: MedioStream, which is headquartered in the Northern District of California, filed the suit against 12 hardware and software companies in the Eastern District of Texas, where none of the parties is headquartered. The defendants filed a motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California. As noted in the Federal Circuit’s opinion, the district court denied that motion based largely on the presence of defendant Dell Inc. in Round Rock, which is outside the Eastern District and located about 300 miles away from Marshall, where the suit was pending. In granting mandamus, the Federal Circuit determined that the convenience of the parties and witnesses, the location of sources of proof and other factors all significantly weigh in favor of transferring the case. “Meanwhile, no factor remotely favors keeping this case in the Eastern District of Texas,” Federal Circuit Judge Alvin A. Schall wrote for the panel. The panel ordered the district court for Eastern District to vacate its order and to direct transfer of the case to the Northern District of California. Everingham did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Byron W. Cooper, MedioStream’s attorney and a partner in Goodwin Procter in Menlo Park, Calif., declines comment on the decision. Elaine Y. Chow, Acer America’s attorney and a partner in K&L Gates in San Francisco; Scott Partridge, Dell’s attorney and a partner in Baker Botts in Houston; and George F. Pappas, Microsoft’s attorney and a partner in Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., did not return a call to each of their offices.
-- Mary Alice Robbins