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Microsoft Corp. v. Geotag Inc., C.A. No. 11-175-RGA (Jan. 13, 2012).

Microsoft Corp. v. Geotag Inc., C.A. No. 11-175-RGA (Jan. 13, 2012).

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11/16/2013

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT
fOR
THE DISTRICT
Of
DELAWAREMICROSOFT CORPORATION,a Washington Corporation, andGOOGLE INC.,
a
Delaware Corporation,Plaintiffs,
v.
GEOTAG INC.,
a
Delaware Corporation,Defendant.Civil Action No. 11-175-RGA
MEMORANDUM OPINION
Arthur
G.
Connolly, III, Esquire, Connolly, Bove, Lodge
&
Hutz, Wilmington, DelawareRamsey
M.
Al-Salam, Esquire, Perkins Coie LLP, Washington D.C.Attorneys for PlaintiffsKenneth
L.
Dorsney, Esquire, Morris James LLP, Wilmington, DelawareEric
W.
Bucther, Esquire, Buether Joe
&
Carpenter, LLC, Dallas, Texas
Attorneys for Defendant
January~.
2012Wilmington, Delaware
.].
 
Before the Court is a motion to transfer this case to the Eastern District
of
Texas.
On
March
1,
2011, Microsoft and Google sued Geotag.
The
plaintiffs seek a declaratoryjudgment that the plaintiffs and their customers have not infringed
Geotag's
patent no.5,930,474, which concerns
an
"Internet Organizer for Accessing Geographically and TopicallyBased Information." The plaintiffs seek to have the patent declared to be invalid.There
is
related litigation
in
the Eastern District
of
Texas, where Geotag has sued inexcess
of
450 companies, many
of
whom are customers
of
Microsoft, Google, and othercompanies
1
that provide mapping services that allow interested persons to use the internet tosearch for a convenient physical location
of
a business.
Geotag's
Texas suits have been filedboth before and after the declaratory judgment action was filed in this Court. The first Geotagsuits were filed in July 20 I 0 (Nos. 2: I 0-cv-265
&
2: I 0-cv-272), and, while based
on
the samepatent, do not appear to implicate the mapping services. The mapping services suits began
to
befiled in December 2010 (Nos.
2:
I 0-cv-569 eta!.). At the time this case was filed in Delaware,Geotag had filed suit against hundreds ("more than 300" according to the Complaint)
of
mappingservices defendants in the Eastern District
of
Texas ("the customer cases"). The bulk
of
thosedefendants were sued in eight such suits in December
201 0;
more such suits followed in 2011.The transfer motion has been fully briefed and orally argued.The statutory authority for transferring the case
is§
I404(a)
of
Title 28, which provides:''For the convenience
of
parties and witnesses, in the interest
of
ustice, a district court may
1
There is a related case in the District
of
Delaware too.
In
Where 2 Get It, Inc.
v.
Geotag,Civil Act. No. 11-223-RGA, the Plaintiff tiled a similar complaint. Unlike in this case, Geotagthen promptly sued the Plaintiff in the Eastern District
of
Texas.-2-
 
transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." Theburden
of
establishing the need for transfer is the movant's,
see Jumara
v.
State Farm
Ins.
Co.,
55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995), which in this case is Geotag. The Third Circuit has set forth theframework for analysis:"[I}n ruling on defendants' motion the plaintiffs choice
of
venue should not belightly disturbed."In ruling
on§
l404(a) motions, courts have not limited their consideration to thethree enumerated factors
in§
1404(a) (convenience
of
parties, convenience
of
witnesses,or interests
of
ustice), and, indeed, commentators have called on the courts to ''considerall relevant factors to determine whether on balance the litigation would moreconveniently proceed and the interests
of
justice be better served by transfer to a differentforum." V.'hile there
isno
definitive formula or list
of
the factors to consider, courts haveconsidered many variants
of
the private and public interests protected by the language
of
§
1404(a).The private interests have included: (1) plaintiff's forum preference
as
manifestedin the original choice; (2) the defendant's preference; (3) whether the claim aroseelsewhere; (4) the convenience
of
the parties
as
indicated by their relative physical andfinancial condition; (5) the convenience
of
the witnesses-but only to the extent that thewitnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in one
of
the fora; and (6) the location
of
books and records (similarly limited to the extent that the files could not
be
produced
in
the alternative forum).The public interests have included: (7) the enforceability
of
the judgment; (8)practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or inexpensive; (9)the relative administrative difficulty in the two fora resulting from court congestion; (10)the local interest
in
deciding local controversies at home;
(II)
the public policies
of
thefora; and (12) the familiarity
of
the trial judge with the applicable state law
in
diversitycases.
!d.
at 879-80 (citations omitted and numbering added).There is no dispute that the declaratory judgment action could have been brought
in
theEastern District
of
Texas, since it is Geotag's principal place
of
business.In my view, interest
(I)
supports the plaintitTs' position that the case should not
be

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