The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNIS CAVANAUGH, District Judge
This matter comes before the Court upon motion by
Coolanimalstuff.com ("Defendant") to transfer venue to the United
States District Court for the Western District of Washington. No
oral argument was held pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 78. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is
Eon-Net ("Plaintiff") is a Limited Partnership with its
principal place of business in the British Virgin Islands.
(Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to
Transfer ("Pl. Br.") at 1). Plaintiff owns United States Patent
Number 6,683,687 ("Patent") titled "Information Processing
Methodology." (Id.) Mitchell Medina invented the Patent and is
solely responsible for conducting Plaintiff's business affairs.
(Id.) Mr. Medina is a former New Jersey resident who now lives
in Nairobi, Kenya. (Id.) On February 2, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against
Defendant before this Court for patent infringement. (Defendants
Brief in Support of its Motion to Transfer ("Def. Br.") at 1).
Defendant is a corporation organized under the laws of Washington
with its principal and only place of business located in Seattle,
Washington. (Id.) Defendant filed its Answer with Counterclaims
on May 25, 2005. Defendant now requests this Court transfer the
case to the United States District Court for the Western District
of Washington for reasons discussed below.
The court has broad discretion in deciding whether a transfer
of venue is warranted, see Plum Tree v. Stockment,
488 F.2d 754, 756 (3d Cir. 1973), and must consider both the public
interest and the private interests of the parties. The factors to
be considered are: "1) plaintiff's choice of forum; 2) relative
ease of access to sources of proof; 3) availability of compulsory
process for attendance of unwilling witnesses; 4) cost of
obtaining attendance of willing witnesses; 5) possibility of
viewing premises, if applicable; 6) all other practical problems
that make trial of a case easy, expeditious, and inexpensive; and
7) `public interest' factors, including the relative congestion
of court dockets, choice of law considerations, and the
relationship of the community in which the courts and jurors are
required to serve to the occurrences that give rise to the
litigation." Gulf Oil v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508-09 (1947).
28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
addresses the issue of proper venue in patent infringement cases
and states a cause of action may be brought in any district where
the "defendant resides or where the defendant has committed acts
of infringement and has a regular and established place of business." Although a
plaintiff may file a claim where the defendant resides, the
preferred forum is "the center of the accused activity."
Osteotech, Inc. v. Gensci Regeration Sciences, Inc.,
6 F.Supp.2d 349, 357 (D.N.J. 1993).
Here, Defendant's principal and only place of business has
always been located in Seattle, Washington. (Def. Br. at 1). The
Western District of Washington therefore had personal
jurisdiction over the Defendant when the alleged infringement
occurred and continues to have personal jurisdiction over
Defendant today. Seattle is also the "center of the accused
activity." Plaintiff claims Defendant violated its ownership
rights over patent 6,683,687 (Plaintiff's Complaint ("Pl.
Compl.") at 3). The patent violation does not occur when people
from New Jersey order products off of Defendant's website or when
Defendant ships products to New Jersey. The violation occurs
where Defendant maintains its website, which is in Seattle where
the software engineer initially developed and now operates and
manages the technical processes Plaintiff complains violates its
patent. (Def. Br. at 9). Therefore, the "center of accused
activity" is located in Seattle, Washington.
B. Private Interest Factors
1. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum
In addition to Seattle being the "center of accused activity,"
the factors this Court must consider when deciding motions to
transfer venue also indicate this case should be transferred. The
first factor to consider is the weight given to a plaintiff's
choice of forum. A plaintiff's choice of forum normally is
entitled to great weight. However, this choice deserves less
weight where none of the operative facts of the action occur in
the forum selected by plaintiff. Schmidt v. Leader Dogs for the
Blind, Inc., 545 F.Supp. 42, 47 (E.D.Pa. 1982). Here, Plaintiff is foreign corporation that holds and licenses
patents and the Plaintiff's principal partner in charge of all
business operations is domiciled in Kenya. (Pl. Br. at 1).
Plaintiff's only ties to New Jersey is that the partner once
lived in New Jersey and returns to visit family and friends every
year, during which he will sometimes conduct business. (Pl. Br.
at 4). The only place Defendant operates its business is Seattle,
Washington. (Def. Br. at 1). Washington is where the alleged
patent infringement would have occurred. The fact that New Jersey
residents order products off of Defendant's website and have
these products ...