Patent attorneys in Silicon Valley don’t often get invited to a celebration for non-practicing entities.
So many were curious and a little surprised when Acacia Patent Acquisition, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp., sent them an invitation to celebrate the Jan. 26 opening of its new in Frisco, Texas.
“Although Acacia was inclusive in its invite list, I don't think you’ll see very many Silicon Valley tech executives at their ribbon cutting ceremony,” said Weil, Gotshal & Manges patent litigator Edward Reines, who received one such invitation.
Lawyers speculate that Acacia is moving its headquarters from Newport Beach, California to Frisco so it’ll be harder to transfer its patent infringement suits out of the Eastern District. Parent company Acacia Research is still headquartered in Newport Beach.
“Considering the number of cases Acacia brings in the Eastern District of Texas, I'm a bit surprised it took them this long to announce that they were moving their headquarters there,” Reines said.
But if that’s the case, the tactic may not be as successful as Acacia hopes. It’s getting harder for non-practicing entities like Acacia to keep patent infringement suits in the Eastern District, even if they’re incorporated there.
In a recent decision involving Microsoft Corp, the Federal Circuit granted the software giant’s request to move a patent infringement suit (filed by Allvoice Developments U.S.) from the Eastern District of Texas to the Western District of Washington.
The District Court had denied the request, arguing that Allvoice (which is based in the United Kingdom) was incorporated in Texas and had an office in Texas. The Court also gave weight to the fact that Allvoice’s documents were located in Texas and several witnesses lived closer to Texas than Washington State.
The Federal Circuit rejected the district court’s reasoning, holding that the courts need not “honor connections to a preferred forum made in anticipation of litigation and for the likely purpose to make that forum appear convenient.”
It’s the most recent in a line of Federal Circuit decisions ordering transfers out of the Eastern District of Texas.