Albright hits back at Federal Circuit while moving Google patent dispute

3 minute read

A logo is seen on the New York Google offices. New York City, U.S., July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kell

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  • Google asked Waco, Texas judge to move case to California
  • Federal Circuit has criticized Albright decisions to keep cases
  • Albright moves case, but says Federal Circuit "muddled" law

Nov 9 - A federal judge who has been under fire for resisting requests to transfer cases granted Google LLC's bid to move a patent dispute over its Pixel smartphones from his Waco, Texas court to California.

In a Monday opinion, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright cited decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversing his rulings in similar cases, but said some of those reversals were "out of step" with years of precedent.

The Federal Circuit has taken Albright to task several times for keeping patent cases in his court when the Northern District of California would be "clearly more convenient." The transfer requests often come from tech companies like Google that are based in California, but find themselves facing lawsuits in Albright's court.

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More patent plaintiffs sue in Albright's court than anywhere else in the country, and some consider his procedures to favor patent owners over defendants.

Patent-holding company Super Interconnect Technologies sued Google in March, arguing Google's smartphones infringed its patents related to memory-storage technology. Google asked Albright to move the case to California, but he rejected the motion in September, finding, among other things that he could hear the case faster.

Albright reconsidered Monday of his own accord in the wake of Federal Circuit decisions against his venue rulings in other cases, citing the appeals court's "additional guidance."

Albright said based on Federal Circuit precedent that witness considerations favored moving the case, but also said the appeals court had nullified a local circuit rule favoring shorter travel distances for witnesses and made other rulings on the issue that went against "decades of jurisprudence" by other courts.

Albright also said the Federal Circuit's rulings had "muddled what facts are relevant" in determining which court can hear the case faster. Albright said the appeals court had made contradictory statements about the factor's importance in decisions on venue.

Albright didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google's attorney Darin Snyder of O'Melveny & Myers declined to comment. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did SIT's attorneys Wesley Hill of Ward Smith & Hill or Jeffrey Bragalone of Bragalone Olejko Saad.

The case is Super Interconnect Technologies v. Google LLC, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 6:21-cv-00259.

For SIT: Wesley Hill of Ward Smith & Hill; and Jeffrey Bragalone of Bragalone Olejko Saad

For Google: Darin Snyder, David Almeling, and Mark Liang of O'Melveny & Myers; and Mark Mann of Mann Tindel Thompson

Read more:

Fed Circ. moves West Texas Google, Sonos patent dispute to Calif.

Fed Circ. moves Juniper's patent dispute from Waco to California

Senators slam Albright over 'extreme concentration' of patent cases

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com