By Memorandum Order entered by The Honorable Richard G. Andrews in T-JAT Systems 2006 LTD. v. Expedia, Inc. (DE) et al., Civil Action No. 16-581-RGA (D.Del. January 29, 2019), the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s prior opinion and order granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss the action for patent infringement against Defendant Expedia-WA, a Washington corporation, for improper venue. In opposition to Defendants’ motion to dismiss, Plaintiff argued that venue over Expedia-WA exists “under 28 U.S.C. §1400(b), which provides that a patent infringement action may be brought in any district ‘where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.’” Id. at *2. The Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss after finding that Plaintiff failed to show Expedia-WA has a regular and established place of business in Delaware. Id.

In its motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff raised a new theory for venue. Id. In short, Plaintiff asserted that venue in Delaware is proper with respect to Expedia-WA because Expedia-WA wholly owns CSC Holdings Inc. (“CSC Holdings”), which wholly owns CruiseShipCenters International, Inc. (“CSC International”), and CSC International has a regular and established place of business in Delaware. Id.

After considering the parties’ respective arguments and considering evidence outside of the Complaint through a Notice of Subsequent Authority filed by Plaintiff, the Court concluded that Plaintiff did not present any new evidence warranting reconsideration and the Court did not commit a clear error of law or fact. Id. at *5-10. As part of its analysis, the Court noted the fact that CSC International operates a Delaware store did not change the outcome of the motion to dismiss because “Plaintiff fail[ed] to show that CSC International is a place of business ‘of the defendant,’ as required to establish proper venue for Expedia-WA.” Id. at *7. In other words, the Court concluded that Plaintiff did not provide any evidence that Expedia-WA engages in business from CSC International’s Delaware location. Id. at *9.

Interestingly, in its brief, Plaintiff did include a screenshot of the Google Maps result for CSC International’s Delaware location which showed a storefront sign that read “Expedia cruiseship centers” and argued that it showed that Expedia-WA ratified the Delaware location as its own. Id. However, the Court noted that the use of the Expedia logo at CSC International’s Delaware location is by itself insufficient to show that the Delaware location is a place of business of Expedia-WA. Id.

A copy of the Memorandum Order is attached.

The opinion leaves me wondering whether the result would have been any different if Plaintiff had included all of its venue assertions in the original complaint or an amended complaint before the Court issued its ruling on Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The standard on the motion for reconsideration likely made it more difficult for Plaintiff to survive the challenge to venue after the Court had previously granted the motion to dismiss.

By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Gregory M. Sleet in Koniklijke Philips N.V. v. HTC Corp., Civil Action No. 15-1125-GMS (D.Del. July 18, 2017), the Court denied Defendants’ Joint Motion to Transfer Venue which sought to transfer venue of the patent infringement action to either the Northern District of California, the Western District of Washington, or the Eastern District of New York pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406, or alternatively to transfer all actions to the Northern District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In denying the motion, the Court found that, through their conduct in actively litigating the suit in the District of Delaware since December 2015 coupled with their withdrawal of their original motion to dismiss for improper venue following the Federal Circuit’s decision in TC Heartland, 821 F.3d 1338(Fed. Cir. 2016), defendants waived any right to challenge venue in the District of Delaware. *5-8. The Court also found that, although defendants pleaded the affirmative defense of improper venue in their answer to the second amended complaints, the affirmative defense of improper venue may be waived by a defendant’s subsequent actions through the course of litigation and the totality of defendants’ actions made it clear that they submitted to venue in the District of Delaware. *9-10.

A copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached.

The general take away is that, if you are a party asserting the affirmative defense of improper venue, you need to assert and preserve the affirmative defense in a timely manner in your responsive pleading or motion and be mindful that your subsequent actions in litigating the case do not provide grounds for a finding of waiver.

By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Leonard P. Stark in Graphics Properties Holdings Inc. v. Asus Computer International, Inc., Civil Action No. 12-210-LPS (D.Del., June 28, 2013), the Court denied Defendant Asus Computer International, Inc.’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue or, in the alternative, to transfer the action to the Northern District of California.  In denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, the Court found that it had five potential bases for asserting personal jurisdiction over defendant, including jurisdiction under Section 3104(c)(3) of the Delaware Long Arm statute based on “use” of the accused product in Delaware.  See id. at 5-6.  The Court also found that plaintiff’s claims for direct infringement and indirect infringement against defendant arose from or are directly related to the delivery of the accused products in Delaware and, thus, the nexus requirement of Section 3104(c)(3) was satisfied.  Id. at 6-7.

A complete copy of the Court’s Memorandum Opinion is attached.