United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Marshall Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PAYNE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
CXT Systems, Inc. is a Texas corporation with its principal
place of business in Marshall, Texas. CXT has initiated eight
lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas
(“EDTX”) asserting patent infringement against a
total of nine retail companies. In each of these co-pending
suits, CXT alleges infringement of all or some of the
following U.S. Patents: 6, 412, 012; 6, 493, 703; 6, 571,
234; 7, 016, 875; 7, 257, 581; 8, 260, 806; and RE45, 661.
The co-pending suits were consolidated for all pretrial
issues, excepting venue. See Consolidation Order,
[Dkt. No. 22].
suit against Defendant The Container Store, Inc., CXT alleges
that all of the patents-in-suit are infringed through The
Container Store's website and related systems. [Dkt. No.
16]. The Container Store moves the Court to transfer this
case to the Northern District of Texas (“NDTX”)
under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), contending that the NDTX is a
more convenient venue because The Container Store's
corporate headquarters is in Coppell, Texas (which straddles
the boundary between the NDTX and the EDTX), and all likely
trial witnesses for The Container Store, as well as the
accused website and related systems, are located there on the
NDTX side of Coppell. [Dkt. No, . 22]. CXT opposes the
transfer, and argues that The Container Store has not
identified (1) any specific sources of proof that cannot be
easily accessed and transported to either district, and (2)
any key non-party witnesses that could not travel to either
district with comparable convenience. [Dkt. No. 25]. There
are no other pending transfer motions in the co-pending
venue statute permits a district court to transfer a case to
another district or division within the district “[f]or
the convenience of parties and witnesses” and “in
the interests of justice.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
The preliminary question under § 1404(a) is whether the
case “might have been brought” in the destination
venue. In re Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 545 F.3d 304,
312 (5th Cir. 2008) (“Volkswagen II”);
In re Volkswagen AG, 371 F.3d 201, 203 (5th Cir.
2004) (“Volkswagen I”). The parties do
not dispute that the case could have been brought in either
the EDTX or the NDTX.
The Container Store's Good Cause Burden
the court resolves the preliminary jurisdiction question, the
movant must meet its “good cause”
burden. Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 315 (emphasis
added). The movant meets its good cause burden by
demonstrating that the transferee venue is clearly more
convenient than the venue chosen by the plaintiff.
Id. “[W]hen the transferee venue is not
clearly more convenient than the venue chosen by the
plaintiff, the plaintiff's choice should be
respected.” Id. The good cause burden
“reflects the appropriate deference to which the
plaintiff's choice of venue is entitled.”
determination of ‘convenience' turns on a number of
private and public interest factors, none of which are given
dispositive weight.” Volkswagen I, 371 F.3d at
203 (quoting § 1404(a)). Although these factors
“are appropriate for most transfer cases, they are not
necessarily exhaustive or exclusive.” Volkswagen
II, 545 F.3d at 315. Unless the balance of factors is
strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff's
choice in forum should be respected. Gulf Oil Corp. v.
Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508 (1947). Ultimately it is
within a district court's sound discretion to transfer
venue under § 1404(a), but the court must exercise its
discretion in light of the particular circumstances of the
case. Hanby v. Shell Oil Co., 144 F.Supp.2d 673, 676
(E.D. Tex. 2001). “Additionally, when deciding a motion
to transfer venue under § 1404(a), the court may
consider undisputed facts outside of the pleadings such as
affidavits or declarations but it must draw all reasonable
inferences and resolve factual conflicts in favor of the
non-moving party.” AGIS Software Dev. LLC v. Apple,
Inc., No. 2:17-CV-00516-JRG, 2018 WL 2721826, at *2
(E.D. Tex. June 6, 2018).
Private Interest Factors
private factors include: “(1) the relative ease of
access to sources of proof; (2) the availability of
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses; (3)
the cost of attendance for willing witnesses; and (4) all
other practical problems that make trial of a case easy,
expeditious and inexpensive.” Volkswagen II,
545 F.3d at 315 (citing Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno,
454 U.S. 235, 241 n.6 (1981)). The Container Store contends,
and CXT apparently does not disagree, that the availability
of compulsory process is a neutral factor, as the relevant
witnesses are subject to the subpoena power of either court.
See [Dkt. No. 22], 7; [Dkt. No. 25], 16.
Sources of Proof
this factor to weigh in favor of transfer, the movant must
demonstrate that transfer will result in more convenient
access to sources of proof. Remmers v. United
States, No. CIV. A. 1:09-CV-345, 2009 WL 3617597, at *4
(E.D. Tex. Oct. 28, 2009). Courts analyze this factor in
light of the distance that documents, or other evidence, must
be transported from their existing location to the trial
venue. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard,
Inc., No. 6:13-CV-256, 2014 WL 11609813, at *2 (E.D.
Tex. July 16, 2014) (citing Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d
at 316) (noting that this factor is still relevant even if
documents are stored electronically). This factor turns upon
which party “most probably [has] the greater volume of
documents relevant to the litigation and their presumed
location in relation to the transferee and transferor
venues.” Id. (citing In re Nintendo
Co., 589 F.3d 1194, 1199 (Fed. Cir. 2009); In re
Genentech, Inc., 566 F.3d 1338, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2009);
and Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 314-15). “In
patent infringement cases, the bulk of the relevant evidence
usually comes from the accused infringer. Consequently, the
place where the defendant's documents are kept weighs in
favor of transfer to that location.” In re
Genentech, 566 F.3d at 1345 (citation omitted).
“That access to some sources of proof presents a lesser
inconvenience now than it might have absent recent
developments does not render this factor superfluous.”
Volkswagen II, 545 F.3d at 316.
Container Store asserts that its documentary and physical
evidence is located at its Coppell facility in the NDTX.
[Dkt. No. 22], 6. The Container Store contends that the
Coppell facility is the location for (1) the accused
website's design, development, maintenance, and operating
testing activities, (2) four employees who will most likely
offer testimony about the accused products, and (3) the
source and design documents for the accused website.
Id. In contrast, The Container Store argues, CXT is
unlikely to have any documentary or ...