Fresh From the Bench: Latest Federal Circuit Court Cases
CASE OF THE WEEK
In re: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al., Appeal Nos. 2021-139, -140 (Fed. Cir. June 30, 2021)
In this week’s Case of the Week, the Federal Circuit granted mandamus petitions filed by Samsung and LG Electronics, directing that patent cases pending against them in the Western District of Texas be transferred to the Northern District of California. In issuing its writ, the Court expanded on precedent disregarding pre-litigation attempts by a plaintiff to manipulate jurisdiction or venue when those questions are disputed, holding that such attempts should also be disregarded when determining for venue purposes whether an action “might have been brought” in a transferee district under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
In this case, the asserted patents were owned by Ikorongo Technology LLC. Within a month before the action was filed against Samsung and LG in the Western District of Texas, Ikorongo Tech spun off Ikorongo Texas LLC, a formally unrelated company owned by the same five individuals and operated out of the same North Carolina office as Ikorongo Tech. Ikorongo Tech then assigned to Ikorongo Texas the exclusive right to sue and collect damages on the patents within specified parts of Texas, while retaining the rights to the patents in the rest of the country. Ikorongo Texas then sued Samsung and LG in the Western District of Texas, with Ikorongo Tech joining in amended complaints the day after the initial complaints were filed. The complaints generally accused functionality of third-party apps run on Samsung’s and LG’s mobile devices.