United States District Court, N.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY H. WOODS, United States District Judge.
ASUS Computer International (“ACI”) seeks to
transfer this patent infringement suit to the Northern
District of California, where it is headquartered. Plaintiff
Sentegra, LLC (“Sentegra”), lacking any
meaningful connection to the Southern District of New
York-its principal place of business is in Colorado, no
witnesses reside in New York, and no facts material to a
patent infringement suit occurred in New York-argues that
transfer is inappropriate because it has filed separate
patent infringement suits against different defendants in the
current forum. Notwithstanding Sentegra’s apparent
preference for the Southern District of New York as the forum
for patent infringement actions against defendants from far
and yonder, for the reasons outlined below, ACI’s
motion to transfer is GRANTED.
a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place
of business in Castle Rock, Colorado, is the owner of U.S.
Patent No. 8, 706, 627 (“the ’627 Patent”).
Compl. ¶¶ 1, 3, 14. The ’627 Patent generally
relates to wireless hand-held devices capable of conducting
secure transactions. Id. ¶ 2. The complaint
alleges that ACI-a California corporation with its principal
place of business in Fremont, California-designs,
manufactures, markets and sells ASUS-branded mobile devices
that infringe upon the ’627 patent. Id.
¶¶ 4-5, 16-20. Sentegra filed suit on May 15, 2015,
bringing claims for patent infringement under 35 U.S.C.
§§ 100, et seq.
time that this suit was commenced, Plaintiff was litigating a
separate patent infringement action in this district-also
related to the ’627 Patent but against an unrelated set
of defendants-Sentegra, LLC v. LG Electronics Inc., et
al., 1:15-cv-01535-CM. That action has since been
voluntarily dismissed. Plaintiff has since filed another
separate patent infringement suit in this district, also
related to the ’627 Patent and against an unrelated
defendant, Sentegra, LLC v. Samsung Electronics America,
Inc., 1:15-cv-9266-VEC. That case is still active, and,
as of the date of this order, a motion to dismiss has been
an initial pretrial conference was held, ACI filed a motion
to dismiss the complaint for improper venue under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1406(a), or in the alternative, a motion to transfer
this action to the Northern District of California under 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a). Dkt. No. 31. ACI has since withdrawn
the motion to dismiss for improper venue, in light of the
Federal Circuit’s decision in In re TC Heartland
LLC, __F.3d__, 2016 WL 1709433 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 29,
2016), but maintains the motion to transfer. See
Dkt. No. 61.
1404(a) of Title 28 provides: “For the convenience of
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 . . . .” 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a). “Thus, section 1404(a) proposes
a two-part test. First, the transferee district must be one
where jurisdiction over the defendant could have been
obtained at the time suit was brought, regardless of
defendant’s consent. Second, the transfer must be in
the interest of justice and convenience of the parties and
witnesses.” In re CenturyLink, Inc. Sec.
Litig., No. 13-cv-3839 (LTS), 2014 WL 1089116, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Mar. 18, 2014) (alterations omitted) (quoting
Whitehaus Collection v. Barclay Products, Ltd., No.
11-cv-217, 2011 WL 4036097 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2011)).
parties do not dispute that Sentegra’s claims could
have been brought in the Northern District of California.
Having satisfied that threshold inquiry, the Court must
evaluate the following factors to determine whether to grant
a motion to transfer venue:
(1) the convenience of the witnesses; (2) the convenience of
the parties; (3) the location of relevant documents and the
relative ease of access to sources of proof; (4) the locus of
operative facts; (5) the availability of process to compel
the attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means
of the parties; (7) the forum’s familiarity with the
governing law; (8) the weight accorded the plaintiff’s
choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and the interests
Steck v. Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., No.
14-cv-6942 (JPO), 2015 WL 3767445, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. June 17,
2015) (quoting Ritchie Capital Mgmt., L.L.C. v. U.S. Bank
Nat. Ass’n, No. 14-cv-8513 (PAE), 2015 WL 1611391,
at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2015)).
list of factors is not exhaustive, Pausch Med. GmbH v.
Pausch LLC, No. 14-cv-1945 (PAC), 2015 WL 783365, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2015), and “[t]here is no rigid
formula for balancing these factors and no single one of them
is determinative, ” Citigroup Inc. v. City Holding
Co., 97 F.Supp.2d 549, 561 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). Rather,
“weighing the balance is essentially an equitable task
left to the Court’s discretion.” Id.
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court,
moreover, has “broad discretion in making
determinations of convenience under Section 1404(a) and
notions of convenience and fairness are considered on a
case-by-case basis.” D.H. Blair & Co. v.
Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 106 (2d Cir. 2006).
party requesting transfer carries the burden of making out a
strong case for transfer, ” and district courts
“have consistently applied the clear and convincing
evidence standard in determining whether to exercise
discretion to grant a transfer motion.” New York
Marine & Gen. Ins. Co. v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc., 599
F.3d 102, 114 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks and
The Convenience of the Witnesses and the Availability of
Process to Compel Attendance of Unwilling Witnesses
typically regard the convenience of witnesses as the most
important factor in considering a § 1404(a) motion to
transfer.” Jackson v. Avis Rent A Car Sys.,
LLC, No. 14-cv-1658 (LLS), 2015 WL 1004299, at *3
(S.D.N.Y. Mar. 6, 2015) (quoting Herbert Ltd.
P’ship v. Elec. Arts Inc.,325 F.Supp.2d 282, 286
(S.D.N.Y. 2004)). In conducting this analysis, the Court
“weighs more heavily the convenience of non-party
witnesses than ...