A mandamus petition filed by Apple Inc. late last week asked the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to compel the Western District of Texas to rule on Apple, the defendant’s, motion to transfer the patent case to its home district in Silicon Valley.
Apple said the suit, brought by Ireland-based Scramoge Technology Ltd, a patent holding company, has no meaningful connection to Texas and the unprecedented delay is holding up resolution.
Docket Alarm data indicates that, in the first half of 2022, 22 percent of patent cases were filed in the Western District of Texas, more than any other district.
The petition explains that Scramoge accused various models of Apple’s MagSafe Chargers and Apple Watch products of infringing its patents through operation of their wireless inductive charging features. Apple filed its motion for transfer 11 months ago, but complications arose during the briefing.
Chief among them was Scramoge’s motion to strike certain portions of Apple reply concerning witness testimony about the convenience of the Northern District of California over the Western District of Texas. The court, per Judge Alan D. Albright, partially granted the motion to strike, postponed the transfer motion, and pressed forward on the merits, instructing the parties to “renew” briefing on the transfer issue after the completion of fact discovery.
Apple now seeks a mandamus petition “to address the district court’s unlawful scheduling order” and to “ensure that transfer motions receive the priority they deserve.” The filing further claims that the Federal Circuit’s decision could directly impact two other cases involving transfer issues similar to this one. The petition notes that Apple’s mandamus petitions in those Western District of Texas cases are also pending before the patent-focused appellate tribunal.
In the last year, Judge Albright has been reversed by the Federal Circuit before on several transfer motions. For example in October 2021, the court overturned the Waco, Texas judge’s decision to keep a dispute between Jenam Tech and Google in that district as an abuse of discretion.