A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Transfers Infringement Case to Tennessee

In an August 2, 2013 ruling, Judge Alison J. Nathan transferred an action alleging patent infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition and dilution to the Middle District of Tennessee.  A defendant in the New York action, R&L Merchandising, LLC, had brought a declaratory judgment action of non-infringement against the plaintiff, Alex and Ani, LLC, in the Middle District of Tennessee.  Alex and Ani then started the infringement action against R&L and others in the Southern District.  Judge Nathan granted the defendants' motion to change venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).  Although noting that the plaintiff's choice of the forum is typically entitled to considerable weight, the Court stated that "that is not the case if the chosen forum has a limited connection with the locus of operative facts."  For the trade dress infringement, dilution and unfair competition claims, the Court held that "the locus of operative facts is where the infringement, dilution, and unfair competition occurred."  Since those operative facts took place nationwide, Judge Nathan found that New York's "connection to the operative facts is not unique."  For the patent infringement claim, the Court held that the locus "is generally where the patented invention was developed or where the allegedly infringing product was designed, developed, and produced," which in this case was outside New York.  Judge Nathan thus transferred the case to the Middle District of Tennessee.
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