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National Products, Inc. v. Wireless Accessory Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 9, 2018

NATIONAL PRODUCTS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
WIRELESS ACCESSORY SOLUTIONS, LLC, d/b/a IBOLT - WIRELESS ACCESSORY SOLUTIONS, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

          JAMES L. ROBART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court are the parties' responses to the court's order to show cause why the court should not transfer Plaintiff National Products, Inc.'s (“NPI”) non-patent claims against Defendant Wireless Accessory Solutions, LLC, d/b/a iBolt - Wireless Accessory Solutions, LLC (“iBolt”) to the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (iBolt Resp. (Dkt. # 28); NPI Resp. (Dkt. ## 31 (redacted), 33 (sealed).) On March 23, 2018, the court determined, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1400(b) and 1406(a), that venue of NPI's patent claim against iBolt was improper in this district and the claim should be transferred to the Central District of California. (Order (Dkt. # 27) at 7-17, 19.) In the same order, the court ordered the parties to show cause why the court should not also transfer NPI's non-patent claims to the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Order at 17-19.) The court deferred transferring NPI's patent claim until after it reviewed NPI's and iBolt's responses to the court's order to show cause. (Id. at 18-19.) Having reviewed the parties' responses, the court now DIRECTS the Clerk to transfer the entire case-both NPI's patent and non-patent claims against iBolt-to the Central District of California for the reasons stated herein.

         II. BACKGROUND

         iBolt is a limited liability corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Utah. (15-1984[1] 2d Brassard Decl. (Dkt. # 112) ¶ 3.) iBolt's principal place of business is Arcadia, California. (Id.) iBolt has no property, infrastructure, inventory, or other physical presence in the Western District of Washington. (Id. ¶ 4.) iBolt also has no employees in the Western District of Washington and provides no localized customer support or targeted marketing efforts here, nor does it otherwise interact in a targeted way with existing or potential customers in the Western District of Washington. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6.) iBolt makes no representations that it has any presence in the Western District of Washington. (Id. ¶ 5.) Any records, documents, or information related to the subject matter of this litigation, which are in iBolt's possession, custody, or control are located at iBolt's headquarters in Arcadia, California. (Id. ¶ 7.)

         On December 29, 2015, NPR filed a complaint against iBolt in the Western District of Washington alleging patent and trademark claims, along with a variety of state law claims. (See Compl. (Dkt. # 1).) On September 19, 2017, the court held a claims construction hearing (see 15-1984 9/19/17 Min. Entry (Dkt. # 95)) and subsequently issued a claims construction order (15-1984 CC Order (Dkt. # 96)).

         On November 30, 2017, iBolt filed a motion to dismiss or transfer NPI's patent claim based on improper venue under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1400(b) and 1406(a). (See 15-1984 MTD (Dkt. # 111).) On March 23, 2018, the court granted iBolt's motion and determined that NPI's patent claim should be transferred to the Central District of California. (Order at 7-17, 19.) The court, however, deferred transferring NPI's patent claim until after the court reviewed the parties' responses to the court's order to show cause why it should not also transfer NPI's non-patent claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Order at 17-19.) The court now considers whether to transfer NPI's non-patent claims.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Standards for Considering a Transfer of Venue Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)

         “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). The threshold question is whether the plaintiff could have originally brought the action in the forum proposed for transfer. See Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 344 (1960). Once this question is resolved, district courts have discretion to transfer venue on a case-by-case basis. Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988).

         In determining whether to transfer an action, the district court must weigh a number of different “case-specific factors.” Id. These factors include both public and private factors. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 241 (1981); see Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). “The district court . . . must weigh in the balance . . . those public-interest factors of systemic integrity and fairness that, in addition to private concerns, come under the heading of ‘the interest of justice.'” Stewart Org., 487 U.S. at 30 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)). On the other hand, private factors generally concern the relative impact of the venue on the private parties participating in the litigation, the parties' access to evidence, the availability of compulsory process, “and all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.” Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508 (1947). These private, convenience factors may include:

(1) the location where the relevant agreements were negotiated and executed, (2) the state that is most familiar with the governing law, (3) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (4) the respective parties' contacts with the forum, (5) the contacts relating to the plaintiff's cause of action in the chosen forum, (6) the differences in the costs of litigation in the two forums, (7) the availability of compulsory process to compel attendance of unwilling non-party witnesses, and (8) the ease of access to sources of proof.

Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498-99 (9th Cir. 2000) (footnotes omitted). The court now considers the relevant public and private factors.

         B. Public Factors and the ...


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