IN RE: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., LG ELECTRONICS INC., LG ELECTRONICS USA, INC. [OPINION] (2021-139, 2021-140, 6/30/2021) (Lourie, Dyk, Reyna)
Dyk, J. Granting the writs of mandamus and directing the district court to grant petitioner’s motions to transfer. On the issue of whether these cases “might have been brought” in the Northern District of California, the district court erred by disregarding the pre-litigation acts by Plaintiffs aimed at manipulating venue. One of the plaintiff entities had assigned to the other plaintiff entity exclusive rights to sue for infringement within certain specified parts of the state of Texas, including certain counties in the Western District of Texas, while retaining the rights to the patents in the rest of country. On the face of the complaint, the Northern District of California could not be a proper venue for the exclusive licensee’s claims because no act of infringement of that entity’s rights took place there. But in ascertaining proper venue, the district court was not bound by a plaintiff’s efforts to manipulate venue, particularly where nothing would prevent the plaintiff entities from undoing the assignment if they so desired and it did not appear that the exclusive licensee conducted any other business—rather, it seemed to exist for the sole purpose of limiting venue to the Western District of Texas. On the merits of the transfer motions, the district court assigned too little weight to the relative convenience of the Northern District of California and it also overstated the concern about waste of judicial resources and risk of inconsistent results in light of plaintiffs’ other, separate infringement suit in the Western District of Texas. The district court also erred in ignoring the significant factors that gave the Northern District of California a legitimate interest in adjudicating the cases “at home.”
BOT M8 LLC v. SONY CORPORATION OF AMERICA, SONY CORPORATION, SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LLC [OPINION](2020-2218, 7/13/2021) (Dyk, Linn, O’Malley)
O’Malley, J. Affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding to the district court for further proceedings as to two of the five patents-at-issue on appeal. With respect to one of the patents-at-issue, the district court correctly granted summary judgment of ineligibility under § 101, given that the claim recites the abstract idea of increasing or decreasing the risk-to-reward ratio, or more broadly the difficulty, of a multiplayer game based upon previous aggregate results; but the claim leaves open how to accomplish this, and at bottom, neither the patent specification, patent owner, or patent owner’s experts articulate a technological problem solved by the patent. With respect to two of the remaining patents-at-issue, the district court was correct in finding that the plaintiff’s allegations in the pleadings were conclusory, merely tracked the claim language, and were inconsistent with and contradicted infringement. With respect to the remaining two of the patents-at-issue, the district court erred in finding that the pleadings did not give rise to a reasonable inference of infringement. Plaintiff need not prove its case at the pleading stage, and the amended complaint plausibly alleged the presence of the claimed feature and supported those assertions with specific factual allegations.