O2 Micro International v. Monolithic Power Systems, Inc., et al. E.D. Texas Judge Ward Most practicing patent litigation attorneys who represent defendants have come to realize, when youÃ¢â?¬â?¢re sued in the Eastern District of Texas, youÃ¢â?¬â?¢re staying there for the long haul. However, getting a change of venue is not impossible. O2 Micro International (O2 Micro) had 3 related patents at issue, the Ã¢â?¬Ë?615, Ã¢â?¬Ë?722, and Ã¢â?¬Ë?129. The Ã¢â?¬Ë?615 and Ã¢â?¬Ë?722 are related and the Ã¢â?¬Ë?129 is a continuation of the Ã¢â?¬Ë?615 and Ã¢â?¬Ë?722. O2 Micro sued Monolithic Power Systems (MPS) in the Northern District of California in October of 2001 for infringement of O2 MicroÃ¢â?¬â?¢s Ã¢â?¬Ë?615 patent. Judge Wilken of the N.D. of Cal., decided the case on summary judgment for MPS. In January of 2003 O2 Micro then sued a customer of MPSÃ¢â?¬â?¢s (Taiwan Sumida) in the E.D. of Texas and asserted both the Ã¢â?¬Ë?615 and Ã¢â?¬Ë?722 patents. The court held the Ã¢â?¬Ë?615 claims collaterally estoppel and granted Taiwan SumidaÃ¢â?¬â?¢s summary judgment motion on those claims. MPS filed a declaratory judgment suit in the N.D. of Cal. in May of 2004 in order to get a judgment that it did not infringe the Ã¢â?¬Ë?722 patent. O2 Micro counterclaimed for infringement and later motioned for a transfer of venue to the E.D. of Texas. A transfer of venue motion was denied by Judge Wilken in December of 2004. Back in October of 2004, O2 Micro filed an infringement suit in the E.D. of Texas for the Ã¢â?¬Ë?129 patent. This suit is MPSÃ¢â?¬â?¢s motion to transfer venue to the N.D. of Cal. for the Ã¢â?¬Ë?129 claim. Judge Ward was convinced by MPSÃ¢â?¬â?¢s first-filed arguments and stated:
The Northern District of California was the court first vested with jurisdiction over the dispute between these parties concerning these related patents. That court should therefore determine where this dispute should ultimately be resolved.
It seems after all there is a way out of the Eastern District of Texas; look for a strong first-filed argument.