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Symbology Innovations, LLC v. Lego Sys.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division

September 28, 2017, Decided; September 28, 2017, Filed

Civil No. 2:17-cv-86

Opinion

 [*921]  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In this patent infringement suit, two corporations hailing from distant states find themselves litigating in the Eastern District of Virginia. This sort of forum shopping in patent litigation has proliferated over the past thirty years. See Daniel Klerman & Greg Reilly, Forum Selling, 89 S. CAL. L. REV. 241, 247-48 (2016). This practice has subjected defendants to litigation in distant forums largely unrelated to the alleged infringement and has given a few federal district courts, including the Eastern District of Virginia, inordinate power over the interstate market for innovation.1 See id. at 249-50, 280-81.

Two recent decisions, TC Heartland, LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514, 197 L. Ed. 2d 816 (2017) and In re Cray, Inc., 871 F.3d 1355, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18398, 2017 WL 4201535 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 21, 2017), have clarified that the permissible venues for patent litigation are narrower than has been allowed in recent practice, however. In the [**2]  wake of these decisions, venue for this suit does not properly lie in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the interests of justice require that this action be transferred to the District of Connecticut pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Symbology Innovations, LLC ("Symbology") filed this suit against Defendant Lego Systems, Inc. ("Lego Systems") alleging patent infringement and  [*922]  seeking damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and further relief under 35 U.S.C. § 271. See Am. Compl. ¶1. A PACER search revealed that Symbology has filed approximately ninety such suits since 2015.2 Despite the volume of litigation, a Westlaw search reveals that no reported or unreported decisions have been issued in any of these cases.

A. Svmbologv's Patents

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158 F. Supp. 3d 916 *; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161489 **; 2017 WL 4324841

SYMBOLOGY INNOVATIONS, LLC, Plaintiff, v. LEGO SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant.

CORE TERMS

venue, infringement, patent, regular, established place of business, improper venue, discovery, district court, venue statute, Retail, cases, courts, Brand, personal jurisdiction, inconvenient, codes, alleges, place of business, incorporation, subsidiary, entities, patent infringement, transferred, consumer, requests, service of process, proper venue, headquarters, convenient, purposes

Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Civil Procedure, Venue, Federal Venue Transfers, Convenience Transfers, Improper Venue Transfers, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Preliminary Considerations, Venue, Jurisdiction & Review, Personal Jurisdiction & Venue, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Leave of Court, Corporations, Personal Jurisdiction & Venue, Places of Business & Residence, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Discovery & Disclosure, Discovery, Federal Venue Transfers, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, Substantial Contacts