Judge Alan Albright’s rejection of Monolithic Power Systems Inc.’s request to transfer a patent infringement suit to California was backed by a divided Federal Circuit panel, marking one of the few times the appeals court agreed with the Waco, Texas, judge in a binding decision.
Bel Power Solutions Inc. accused Monolithic of infringing their patents by selling some power modules to original equipment manufacturers. There’s enough evidence that Kirkland, Wash.-based Monolithic has sufficient ties to keep the case in the Western District of Texas, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 2-1 in a Friday precedential order.
For example, the company has employees whose homes are within the Texas jurisdiction, Judges Raymond T. Chen and Leonard P. Stark found.
Judge Alan D. Lourie dissented, cautioning that the ruling could have greater implications given the increasing popularity of remote work.
“The dissent may well be correct that the issue of imputing employee homes to a defendant for purposes of venue will become an issue of greater concern given the shift to remote work,” the majority wrote. “But, in our view, at present, the district court’s ruling does not involve the type of broad, fundamental, and recurring legal question or usurpation of judicial power that might warrant immediate mandamus review.”
The order is one of the few examples of the Federal Circuit issuing a precedential denial of a mandamus petition involving transfer, and is even rarer for upholding one of Albright’s transfer decisions.
Albright’s tendency to balk at transferring patent cases drew scrutiny from the Federal Circuit, Congress, and Chief Justice John Roberts, ultimately coming to a head as the chief judge of the Western District issued an order rerouting patent cases away from Waco.
Monolithic argued that, as a Delaware corporation, it doesn’t “reside” in the Western District of Texas.
Albright denied the request to transfer the case …….