Gesture Technology’s Patent Suit Against Apple Shifted From WDTX to NDCA

An opinion issued on Monday by Judge Alan D. Albright found in favor of movant Apple Inc. in its bid to move the patent suit filed by Gesture Technology Partners LLC to the Northern District of California (NDCA). The suit, previously proceeding in the Western District of Texas (WDTX) accused Apple’s iPhones and iPads of infringing three patents related to camera technology.

The opinion recounted that the patents relate to “using cameras and gestures detected by the cameras or other sensors to control functions in the device for different applications.” The complaint pointed to several allegedly infringing applications, including Apple’s Face ID, QR Scanner, tracking autofocus, selfie focus, autofocus area, optical image stabilization, portrait mode, and Animojis.

Gesture, a Toledo, Ohio-based company, could have brought the suit in the NDCA, the court said. From there, its analysis pivoted to whether Apple proved that the NDCA is clearly the more convenient forum.

Judge Albright weighed the private and public interest factors in determining that Apple showed that the patent suit belonged in California. In terms of evidence located in the proposed forum, Apple contended that personnel and documents are housed in its home office in Cupertino, noting that it is also where the research, design, and source code development for the accused products took place.

The opinion analyzed what it said was one of the most important factors, the convenience of witnesses. Judge Albright favored Apple’s argument as the company showed that at least 10 witnesses live in the NDCA over Gesture’s objections that Apple’s second largest campus is located in Austin, Texas. 

Lastly, the court weighed district congestion, noting that as it deserves the least weight as it is the most speculative. “Given the statistics provided in Gesture’s briefing and lack thereof from Apple, the Court finds that this case would likely reach trial faster in this forum compared to the transferee forum,” Judge Albright wrote.

On balance, however, the court concluded that Apple proved the convenience of the NDCA over the WDTX. The case will now proceed in San Francisco, Calif. before Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon.

Gesture is represented by Williams Simons & Landis PLLC and Apple by DLA Piper US.