United States District Court, D. Delaware
INTUITIVE SURGICAL, INC. and INTUITIVE SURGICAL OPERATIONS, INC., Plaintiffs,
AURIS HEALTH, INC., Defendant.
W. Shaw, Karen E. Keller, David M. Fry, Shaw Keller LLP,
Wilmington, DE; Daralyn J. Durie, Sonal N. Mehta, Laura E.
Miller, Vera Ranieri, Eneda Hoxha, Durie Tangri LLP, San
Francisco, CA - Attorneys for Plaintiffs
E. Farnan, Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Wilmington,
DE; Arturo J. González, Michael A. Jacobs, Stefani E.
Shanberg, Nathan B. Sabri, Robin L. Brewer, Sabrina Larson,
Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, CA; Bryan Wilson,
Morrison & Foerster LLP, Palo Alto, CA - Attorneys for
Defendant May 31, 2019 Wilmington, Delaware
NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the motion (D.I. 14) of Defendant Auris Health,
Inc. (“Defendant” or “Auris”),
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer this case
to the Northern District of California. (Id.).
Plaintiffs Intuitive Surgical, Inc. and Intuitive Surgical
Operations, Inc. (collectively, “Plaintiffs” or
“Intuitive”) oppose transfer. (D.I. 26). For the
reasons set forth below, Auris's motion to transfer is
Plaintiffs and Auris are Delaware corporations with principal
places of business in California. (D.I. 1 ¶¶
11-13). Intuitive initiated this action on August 31, 2018,
alleging that Auris's Monarch Platform infringes eight of
its patents. (Id. ¶ 23). The Monarch Platform
is a robotic endoscope that can perform medical procedures
within the lungs, “which can facilitate early detection
and treatment of lung cancer.” (D.I. 18 ¶ 2).
Auris moves to transfer this action to the Northern District
of California where all parties are headquartered and where,
it asserts, its Monarch Platform was primarily designed and
developed. (D.I. 17 ¶¶ 3, 5).
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).
Third Circuit has recognized that:
[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
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 private interests
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 public interests
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 879-80.
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). Moreover, though 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.