Federal Circuit Judge resists Apple moving patent case to California

in General Discussion
Apple has managed to get most cases transferred to its home state, but its protest over a Uniloc suit has met with resistance from a judge who argues a move is unjustified.

Credit: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Credit: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

In Apple's continuing patent dispute against Uniloc, the company has claimed that that US District Judge Alan Albright was wrong to keep part of the case in West Texas. According to Apple attorney Melanie L. Bostwick, the cases should all be judged in the Northern District of California, partly because that is where all of the Apple witnesses are.

According to Law360, US Circuit Judge Kimberley A. Moore disputed the claim that no one at Apple's Austin, Texas campus, nor anyone at its Austin-based partner Flextronics have worked on the devices alleged to infringe Uniloc patents.

"How do you know they're not working on the relevant technology?" Judge Moore asked in a hearing held by phone. "It was Apple's burden to establish that. I saw no evidence presented in this record that none of the 8,000 engineers in the Austin campus are working on this technology."

However, Bostwick said that Apple had presented sworn statements from a senior finance manager and two Texas employees. Apple's position is that the original judge "had no rational basis" to keep the case in Texas.

"For me, a really big difference seems to be that Apple is, if not the largest, one of the largest employers in the Western District of Texas," said Judge Moore. "Doesn't that suggest some pretty strong local interest in having litigation decided locally?"

Previous Judge Alan Albright has argued that Apple wants to "essentially change the venue laws," so that it can only be sued in the Northern District of California. Following Judge Albright's public invitation for patent owners to sue in West Texas, the state has seen more filed there in 2020 than in any other court.

Apple's ongoing patent dispute most recently saw the alleged patent troll Uniloc denied its request to seal certain documents that contained trade secrets. Separately, both Apple and Intel have filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing firms including Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg from continuing to file "serial nuisance suits."


  • Reply 1 of 6
    Now that petroleum's in decline, Texas's prime industries must be hurricane recovery and Apple Trolling.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    This is when judges form part of the patent troll problem. There is a conflict of interest at play:

    The litigants in numerous suits are large charitable doners to the judge's jurisdiction. Building all manner of public amenities for free. This is in addition to the numerous other benefits received by having a non-sensical proportion of these cases held in one, seemingly irrelevant location.

    Europe often gets a lot of flack for seemingly spurious cases, but the USA's own local-level corruption is a significantly larger problem.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 324member
    The West Texas courts are where a tremendous number of these patent suits are filed and they are done there for a reason. It is political corruptness at it's pinnacle. 
  • Reply 4 of 6
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    jimh2 said:
    The West Texas courts are where a tremendous number of these patent suits are filed and they are done there for a reason. It is political corruptness at it's pinnacle. 
    East Texas was the patent suit destination for a decade or more. It's only been in the past year that West Texas has pushed to become the "new East".

    In 2019 Apple shut down their Apple stores located in the East Texas jurisdiction (Dallas) to avoid being compelled to answer there. In response West Texas announced themselves as a fill-in.  Avoiding West Texas will be exceptionally difficult for Apple considering the heavy investment they've made in and around Austin. 
    edited September 2020
  • Reply 5 of 6
    jimh2 said:
    It is political corruptness at it's pinnacle. 
    It would be judicial corruption, not political corruption, if it existed. We are talking about judges and courts, not politicians. 
  • Reply 6 of 6
    West Texas: Where patent infringement case millionaires are made.
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