United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO TRANSFER Re: Dkt. No. 46
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, Jr., District Judge.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Qurio Holdings, Inc.'s motion to transfer venue to the Eastern District of North Carolina ("EDNC"). Defendants DISH Network LLC and DISH Network Corporation oppose the motion and argue that the case should remain in this district. For the reasons stated below, the Court agrees with Defendants and accordingly DENIES the motion.
A. Procedural Background
Plaintiff originally filed this action in the Northern District of Illinois ("NDIL"), seeking injunctive relief and damages for infringement of United States Patent Nos. 8, 102, 863 (entitled "High-Speed WAN to Wireless LAN Gateway"), 7, 787, 904 (entitled "Personal Area Network Having Media Player And Mobile Device Controlling The Same"), and 8, 879, 567 (entitled "High-Speed WAN To Wireless LAN Gateway"). Dkt. No. 17 ("FAC").
On the same day that Plaintiff filed this action, it also filed two separate actions in the NDIL asserting infringement of the same three patents against DirecTV, LLC and Comcast Corp. None of Plaintiff's patent infringement actions remain in the NDIL.
First, on February 9, 2015, Plaintiff's action against Comcast Corp. was transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ("EDPA") ("Comcast Action"). Dkt. No. 46 ("Mot.") at 3. Second, and most relevant here, on February 24, 2015, Plaintiff's action against Defendants was transferred to this district. Qurio Holdings, Inc. v. DISH Network Corp. et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-00930-HSG, Dkt. Nos. 37, 39 (N.D. Cal.) ("DISH Action"). The NDIL found that the Northern District of California ("NDCA") was a "clearly more convenient" venue for the DISH Action than the NDIL because "[m]any if not most of the accused functionalities were developed there, and a number of significant non-party infringement-related witnesses reside there." Dkt. No. 37 ("NDIL Order") at 12-13.
Finally, on May 4, 2015, Plaintiff's action against DirecTV was transferred to this district. Qurio Holdings, Inc. v. DirecTV, LLC, Case No. 3:15-cv-01986-HSG, Dkt. Nos. 72-73 (N.D. Cal.) ("DirecTV Action"). In ruling on the transfer, the NDIL considered cross-motions to transfer venue similar to the motion pending before this Court in the DISH Action: Plaintiff argued that the case should be transferred to the EDNC, and Defendant argued that the case should be transferred to the NDCA. DirecTV Action, Dkt. No. 72.
On May 21, 2015, this Court related the DirecTV and DISH Actions. Dkt. No. 78.
B. Factual Background
Plaintiff is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in New Hampshire. FAC ¶ 1. Plaintiff's New Hampshire office is "the place where Qurio's high level officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities." Dkt. No. 62 ("Reply") at 2. Plaintiff also asserts, however, that it "has its principal place of business in Raleigh, North Carolina, " where Plaintiff's "engineering activities" and "research and development" occur. Id. at 2; Mot. at 9-10. None of the named inventors of the patents-in-suit are currently employed by Plaintiff. See Mot. at 13, 15; Dkt. No. 79. The lawyers who prosecuted the patents-in-suit are located in Cary, North Carolina. Mot. at 10.
Defendant Dish Network LLC has its principal place of business in Colorado. FAC ¶ 3. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant infringes the patents by making and distributing "products and services that allow users to transfer and display video and other content from Defendant['s] wide area network, including but not limited to Defendant['s] television broadcasting services and DVR, Hopper and Sling products and services." Id. ¶ 16. Defendant avers that the inventors of the Sling functionality, who are not affiliated with Defendant, reside in the NDCA. Dkt. No. 55 ("Opp.") at 18.
A. Legal Standard
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides: "For the convenience of the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." The purpose of this statute is "to prevent the waste of time, energy and money and to protect litigants, witnesses and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and expense." Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616 (1964).
"[T]he fact that an action has been transferred once does not preclude the transferee court from entertaining a subsequent motion to transfer." Techshell, Inc. v. Incase Designs Corp., No. 11-cv-04576-YGR, 2012 WL 692295, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 2, 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, where a plaintiff seeks a transfer back to the original transferor court, the transferee court should not retransfer "except under the most impelling and unusual circumstance or [unless] the transfer order is manifestly erroneous." Ametek, Inc. v. ...