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Virentem Ventures, LLC v. Youtube, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

May 16, 2019

YOUTUBE, LLC and GOOGLE LLC, Defendants.

          John G. Day, Andrew C. Mayo, Ashby & Geddes, Wilmington, DE; Henry C. Bunsow, Denise De Mory, Christiana M. Finn, Jenna Elizabeth Dean, Bunsow De Mory LLP, Redwood City, CA - attorneys for Plaintiff

          Frederick L. Cottrell, III, Kelly E. Farnan, Sara M. Metzler, Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Charles K. Verhoeven, David A. Perlson, Jordan R. Jaffe, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, San Francisco, CA 94111 - attorneys for Defendants May 16, 2019 Wilmington, Delaware



         Defendants YouTube, LLC (“YouTube”) and Google LLC (“Google”)[1] (collectively “Defendants”) have moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this case to the Northern District of California. (D.I. 39). Plaintiff Virentem Ventures LLC (“Virentem” or “Plaintiff) opposes. (D.I. 53). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny Defendants' motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Virentem Ventures LLC and each of the Defendants are Delaware corporations with principal places of business in California. Plaintiff filed this action on June 20, 2018, alleging that Defendants infringe eleven patents. On November 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Answer asserting infringement of the same eleven patents and adding a twelfth count titled “Unfair Competition - Violation of Cal. Bus & Prof Code § 17200.” (D.I. 30). On December 7, 2018, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs claims for willful and induced infringement and to dismiss and to strike Plaintiffs unfair competition claims. (D.I. 34, 35).


         District courts have the authority to transfer venue “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of justice, . . . to any other district or division where it might have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). However, “[a] plaintiff, as the injured party, generally ha[s] been ‘accorded [the] privilege of bringing an action where he chooses, ” Helicos Biosciences Corp. v. Illumina, Inc., 858 F.Supp.2d 367, 371 (D. Del. 2012) (quoting Norwood v. Kirkpatrick, 349 U.S. 29, 31 (1955)), and this choice “should not be lightly disturbed, ” Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995).

[i]n ruling on § 1404(a) motions, courts have not limited their consideration to the three enumerated factors in § 1404(a) (convenience of parties, convenience of witnesses, or interests of justice), and, indeed, commentators have called on the courts to “consider all relevant factors to determine whether on balance the litigation would more conveniently proceed and the interests of justice be better served by transfer to a different forum.

Jumara, 55 F.3d at 879 (citation omitted). The Jumara court went on to describe twelve (12) “private and public interests protected by the language of § 1404(a).” Id. The six private interests include:

plaintiff's forum preference as manifested in the original choice; the defendant's preference; whether the claim arose elsewhere; the convenience of the parties as indicated by their relative physical and financial condition; the convenience of the witnesses - but only to the extent that the witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in one of the fora; and the location of books and records (similarly limited to the extent that the files could not be produced in the alternative forum).

Id. at 879 (citations omitted). The six public interests include:

the enforceability of the judgment; practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or inexpensive; the relative administrative difficulty in the two fora resulting from court congestion; the local interest in deciding local controversies at home; the public policies of the fora; and the familiarity of the trial judge with the applicable state law in diversity cases.

Id. at 879-880.

         The party seeking transfer bears the burden “to establish that a balancing of proper interests weigh[s] in favor of transfer.” Shutte v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3d Cir. 1970). This is a heavy burden. Indeed, although courts have “broad discretion to determine, on an individualized, case-by-case basis, whether convenience and fairness considerations weigh in favor of transfer, ” Jumara, 55 F.3d at 883, the Third Circuit has held that “unless the balance of convenience of the parties is strongly in favor of [the] defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should prevail.” Shutte, 431 F.2d at 25.


         As an initial matter, there is no dispute that this case could have been brought in the Northern District of California. Thus, the issue before the Court is whether to exercise discretion under § 1404(a) to transfer this case to that district.

         1.Plaintiff's ...

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