U.S. District Judge T. John Ward, in rejecting Volkswagen's bid to have the case moved from his court in Marshall, said the choice made by Amy Singleton, the girl's mother, and two relatives who sued is of "paramount consideration.''
Singleton's lawyer Martin Siegel said that they filed the complaint in Marshall because they consider it their "home turf" since she used to live in Plano, which is part of the eastern district. Ward is used to handling product liability cases and the court moves quickly, the lawyer added.
The American Intellectual Property Law Association, the nation's largest group of patent lawyers, urged the panel to rule that the convenience of the parties should be the primary concern.
About 70 percent of patent trials before Ward, the only judge assigned to the Marshall courthouse, result in wins for the patent owners, according to LegalMetric LLC, a St.Louis-based research company. The national average is 23.5 percent. Most cases settle.
Patent appeals are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which defers to regional circuits on local rules such as standards for transfer. The 5th Circuit handles appeals of cases in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Trial lawyers in Texas formed a committee to fight the patent lawyers, and filed court papers saying Marshall has been "unfairly characterized" as a plaintiff-friendly court jurisdiction.
See post CAFC allows Venue Transfer to Texas:
In Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just released its en banc opinion in another In re VW case. In that case, the 5th Circuit held that the E.D. Texas (Marshall) court had unreasonably refused to transfer VW's case to a Northern District court in Dallas. The AIPLA filed a brief in that case, noting that the Eastern District of Texas rarely allows an out-transfer. From the AIPLA brief: "The routine filing of patent infringement complaints in the Eastern District of Texas that have essentially no connection to that district has been encouraged by the seeming reluctance of courts in that district to transfer cases under § 1404(a)."