Albright Gets OK from CAFC on Denial of Transfer for Amazon

“The court considered all the relevant factors and made reasonable findings based on the record.” – CAFC U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) earlier this week shot down a petition for writ of mandamus filed by, Inc. asking the court to vacate an Order by Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denying Amazon transfer of a case to the Northern District of California.

VoIP-Pal sued Amazon in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of its patents through the sale of Amazon’s “’communications platform,’ including the server structure, Alexa calling devices, and Alexa software applications running on those devices.” Amazon sought transfer to California, claiming that the middleware of the accused products was developed by employees based there. In its opposition, VoIP-Pal submitted evidence that “[t]echnical documentation relating to the work of the DeviceOS and Echo Platform Software teams is maintained at the Austin offices.”

The district court determined that the Alexa middleware cited by Amazon is not the only technology relevant to infringement and depends on the device’s operating system, which is designed and developed by a team of engineers based in Austin. Ultimately, the district court said the “sources of proof” factor relevant to the transfer analysis weighed in favor of neither forum. While Amazon identified five non-party witnesses who could be compelled to testify in California versus VoIP-Pal’s three in Western Texas, the district court further found that it could hold trial sooner than the transferee court and that “on balance…Amazon had failed to show the transferee venue was clearly more convenient.”

In its review of the district court’s reasoning, the Federal Circuit explained that the “clear abuse of discretion” necessary to grant mandamus relief was not evident. The court explained:

“The court considered all the relevant factors and made reasonable findings based on the record. In particular, the court found that information known and held by the operating system development team located in Austin Texas is material to the parties’ dispute,…and we cannot say this finding was clearly erroneous.”

The CAFC began a spree of granting mandamus petitions to vacate Albright’s transfer orders in 2021, repeatedly rebuking the court for keeping cases due to the Texas court’s faster time to trial and with respect to the court congestion factor, explaining in one case that “precedent does not permit giving such speculation about whether a court can reach trial faster more weight than all the remaining factors.”

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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Green Back Club]
    Green Back Club
    January 14, 2023 04:53 pm

    This battle between voip-pal and the big tech companies is coming to a boil.

    Voip-pal now has defeated 20 IPR’s at the PTAB brought by these big companies and is now set for trial in July with Judge Albright.

    The Amazon denial of the Writ of Mandamus is a huge step in keeping defendant in court allowing Voip-pal to argue its case of infringement on the merits.

    Many eyes are on this case to see the little guy beat the giant and to reach the big companies that they can’t just steal IP and get away with it anymore.