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In re Genentech, Inc.

566 F.3d 1338 (2009)

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In re Genentech, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

566 F.3d 1338 (2009)

Facts

Genentech, Inc. (defendant) was headquartered in San Francisco, California, in the Northern District of California (Northern District). Biogen Idec, Inc. (Biogen) (defendant) operated facilities in San Diego, California. Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH (Sanofi) (plaintiff), a German company, filed a patent-infringement action against Genentech and Biogen in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Genentech and Biogen moved to transfer venue to the Northern District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). The companies presented evidence that at least 10 potential material witnesses, including two of the patent prosecution attorneys, lived in the Northern District, and at least four additional potential witnesses were California residents. All the companies’ documentary evidence was in the Northern District or San Diego. Sanofi opposed transfer, arguing that six inventors lived in Europe, one prior art author lived in Iowa, and four prosecuting patent attorneys lived on the east coast of the United States. It was undisputed that no witness or relevant evidence was in the Eastern District of Texas. The district court denied Genentech and Biogen’s motion to transfer venue based on findings that the companies had not identified any “key witnesses” in the Northern District and that Texas was centrally located in the United States. Genentech and Biogen filed a petition for writ of mandamus to obtain a change in venue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Linn, J.)

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