United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Abrams, United States District Judge.
NetSoc, LLC filed claims for patent infringement against
Defendants Chegg Inc., LinkedIn Corp., Quora Inc., and Oath
Inc., in four separate actions that were consolidated through
claim construction. See Dkt. 23. Now before the
Court is Defendant LinkedIn's motion to transfer the
action against it to the Northern District of California
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), For the following
reasons, the motion is granted.
filed a complaint against LinkedIn on December 26, 2018. It
asserted that LinkedIn's website infringes U.S. Patent
No. 9, 978, 107 (the"'107 Patent")
and U.S. Patent No. 7, 565, 344 (the "'344
Patent"), which Plaintiff owns by assignment.
See Dkt. 1, Compl ¶¶ 7, 13. Both patents
are described generally as "a method and system for
establishing and using a social network to facilitate people
in life issues." Id.
¶¶ 8, 14.
March 4, 2019, LinkedIn filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint. See Dkt. 19. On May 24, LinkedIn filed
the present motion to transfer this case to the Northern
District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
See Dkt. 35. In July, the Court stayed discovery
pending resolution of these and other motions in the four
actions. See Dkt. 44. In spite of the fact that it
also has pending a motion to dismiss, LinkedIn has requested
that the Court first resolve its motion to transfer.
See Dkt. 70 ("LinkedIn maintains its position
as stated during the Status Conference on August 27, 2019,
that it would be procedurally proper to resolve
LinkedIn's pending Motion to Transfer . .. before
reaching issues of collateral estoppel as to
is a Texas limited liability company with its principal place
of business in Harris County, Texas. See Dkt. 1,
Compl. ¶ 1. In April 2018, Emily White, the inventor of
the '107 Patent and '344 Patent, assigned the rights
to these patents to Plaintiff See Dkt 35, Ex. B
(Patent Assignment Cover Sheet), Plaintiff alleges that
"LinkedIn maintains, operates, and administers a website
at www.LinkedIn.com that infringes one or more claims of the
'107 patent." and "of the '344
patent." Dkt 1, Compl ¶¶9, 15. Plaintiff
specifically identifies two of LinkedIn's services -
"Recruiter" and "ProFinder" - as the
services that infringe on these two patents. See Id.
¶¶ 10-11, 16-17.
is a domestic corporation organized under the laws of
Delaware. Plaintiff alleges that LinkedIn's principal
place of business is in New York City. See id
¶ 2, LinkedIn disputes this,
asserting that its principal place of business is in Northern
California. According to LinkedIn, it "has been located
in the San Francisco Bay Area since its founding in Mountain
View, California in 2003," Goralnick Deck ¶5, Its
headquarters - described as "the strategic center of
LinkedIn's business" - are presently located in
Sunnyvale, California, and it has "multiple, additional
large offices in the San Francisco Bay Area,"
Id. As such, it employs approximately 6, 500
employees in Northern California. See id.
acknowledges that it has had an office in New York since 201
Nonetheless, it contends that employees in that office focus
only on "marketing and sales activities," and that
"[e]mployees in the San Francisco Bay Area ultimately
oversee" the New York office's work, Chandra Deck
¶ 13. In particular, according to LinkedIn, all
"operations relevant to the design, development,
marketing, and function of its services related to this
patent infringement action "reside in its Sunnyvale,
Mountain View, and San Francisco offices." Goralnick
Decl. ¶¶ 7, 12; Chandra Decl. ¶¶ 7, 12.
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). "In
considering whether to grant a venue transfer, courts engage
in a two-part test: (1) whether the action 'might have
been brought' in the proposed transferee forum; and (2)
whether the transfer promotes convenience and justice,"
Excelsior Designs, Inc. v. Sheres, 291 F. Supp, 2d
181, 185 (E.D.N.Y. 2003) (quoting Schertenleib v.
Traum, 589 F.2d 1156, 1161 (2d Cir. 1978)), "The
moving party bears the burden of showing, by clear and
convincing evidence, that a transfer is appropriate."
Phillips v. Reed Grp., Ltd., 955 F.Supp.2d 201, 229
(S.D.N.Y. 2013). "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. v.
Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 106 (2d Cir. 2006).
Whether the Action Might Have Been Brought in the Northern
District of California
action "might have been brought' in another forum if
venue would have been proper there and the defendants would
have been amenable to personal jurisdiction in the transferee
forum when the action was initiated." Wang v. Phx.
Satellite Television US, Inc., No. 13-CV-218 (PKC), 2014
WL 116220, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 13, 2014) (citation omitted).
Plaintiff does not dispute that this matter "could have
been brought in the Northern District of California,"
Dkt 35 at 7, and the Court agrees, Accordingly, §
1404(a)"s first requirement is satisfied, The remaining
inquiry is, therefore, "whether the transfer promotes
convenience and justice," Excelsior Designs,
Inc., 291 F.Supp.2d at 185.
Whether the Transfer Promotes ...