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Cirrex Systems LLC v. InfraReDx

August 31, 2010

CIRREX SYSTEMS LLC, PLAINTIFF AND COUNTERCLAIM-DEFENDANT,
v.
INFRAREDX, INC., DEFENDANT AND COUNTERCLAIM-PLAINTIFF.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denise Cote, District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

This is a patent infringement action brought by plaintiff Cirrex Systems, LLC ("Cirrex") against defendant IfraReDx, Inc. ("InfraReDx"). InfraReDx has moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to transfer this action to the District of Massachusetts. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

InfraReDx is a small medical device company incorporated in Delaware and located in Burlington, Massachusetts. InfraReDx employs seventy-four employees, the vast majority of whom work at InfraReDx's sole facility in Burlington. None of InfraReDx's employees reside in New York. InfraReDx invented, developed, and now markets and sells a fiber-optic, catheter-based, near infrared spectroscopy system, called the LipiScan Coronary Imaging System ("LipiScan"). LipiScan is designed to analyze the composition of coronary lipid-rich plaques in patients undergoing catheterization. Such plaques are suspected to be the cause of most sudden cardiac deaths and non-fatal heart attacks. LipiScan is manufactured in Massachusetts and is InfraReDx's only commercial product. Substantially all invention, design, and development of LipiScan took place in Massachusetts. Sales of LipiScan to two New York-based customers accounted for 3.5% of InfraReDx's revenue through April 30, 2010.

Cirrex is a small limited liability company located in Alpharetta, Georgia. It has three principals and no other employees. On May 12, 2010, Cirrex filed a complaint against InfraReDx in the Southern District of New York, where Cirrex's counsel is located. The complaint alleges that LipiScan infringes on United States Patent Nos. 6,366,726 (the "'726 patent"), 5,953,477 (the "'477 patent"), and 6,144,791 (the "'791 patent") (collectively, the "patents-in-suit"). Cirrex's sole source of revenue is the licensing and enforcement of patents, including the patents-in-suit. The named inventors on the patents-in-suit are Michael Leonard Wach and Eric Todd Marple, who reside in Georgia and Florida, respectively. The patents-in-suit were prosecuted by W. Scott Petty, a partner in the Atlanta office of plaintiff's counsel, and Hubert J. Barnhardt III, who also has an office in Georgia. Cirrex has maintained documents concerning the patents-in-suit at its counsel's New York office for over a year because of a prior lawsuit.

On July 6, 2010, InfraReDx moved to transfer this action to the District of Massachusetts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The motion was fully submitted on August 13.

DISCUSSION

The relevant law is well established. Section 1404 provides: "For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). District courts have "broad discretion in making determinations of convenience under Section 1404(a) and notions of convenience and fairness are considered on a case-by-case basis." D.H. Blair & Co., Inc. v. Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 106 (2d Cir. 2006).*fn1 The movant bears the burden of establishing, by "clear and convincing evidence," that a transfer of venue is warranted. N.Y. Marine & Gen. Ins. Co. v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc., 599 F.3d 102, 114 (2d Cir. 2010).

If the transferee court would also have jurisdiction over the case, the court must determine whether, considering the "convenience of parties and witnesses" and the "interest of justice," a transfer is appropriate. In making that determination, a court considers:

(1) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (2) the convenience of witnesses, (3) the location of relevant documents and relative ease of access to sources of proof, (4) the convenience of parties, (5) the locus of operative facts, (6) the availability of process to compel the attendance of unwilling witnesses, and (7) the relative means of the parties.

Id. at 112. A court may also consider "the forum's familiarity with the governing law" and "trial efficiency and the interest of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances." Berman v. Informix Corp., 30 F. Supp. 2d 653, 657 (S.D.N.Y. 1998).

A transfer of venue is clearly warranted here. There is no dispute that the District of Massachusetts would have jurisdiction over this matter, or that venue properly lies there. Thus, only the "convenience of the parties and the witnesses" and the "interest of justice" need be considered. They compel transfer to Massachusetts.

1. Convenience of the Witnesses

Massachusetts is by far the more convenient forum for party and non-party witnesses. Resolution of this matter will require testimony concerning, among other things: (1) InfraReDx's design and development of LipiScan; (2) IfraReDx's sales, marketing, and financial information; and (3) the patents-in-suit. Virtually all of InfraReDx's potential witnesses who may be knowledgeable about the first two categories are located or work in Massachusetts. It would be inconvenient for these witnesses to have to travel hundreds of miles to New York. Furthermore, those individuals who may be knowledgeable about the patents-in-suit --- the named inventors and the ...


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