United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
the Court is Defendants Polymer Logistics (Israel), Ltd.
("Polymer Israel") and Polymer Logistics,
Inc.'s ("Polymer US" collectively
"Polymer") motion to transfer venue. (Doc. No. 19.)
Polymer's motion seeks to transfer this case to the
United States District Court for the Central District of
California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the
reasons set forth below, Polymer's motion to transfer is
Rehrig Pacific Company ("Rehrig") filed this action
alleging patent infringement against Polymer for its
"RPC Eggs" crates (the "Accused
Products"), a reusable and collapsible container used
for storage, shipping, and retail display in the egg
industry. (See Am. Compl., Doc. No. 13, ¶¶
26-39.) Rehrig is a Delaware corporation with its principal
place of business in Los Angeles, California, yet, it filed
this action in the Dublin Division of the Southern District
of Georgia. (Id. ¶ 1.) While Polymer U.S.
maintains a facility in Dublin, it is a Delaware corporation
with its principal place of business in Tampa,
Florida. (Id. ¶ 3; Defs.' Br.,
Doc. No. 19-1, at 3 n.2.) Polymer Israel is an Israeli
corporation with its principal place of business in Hod
Hasharon, Israel. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) Although Polymer
Israel is a foreign corporation, it was registered to do
business in California until August 3, 2018, one week after
this lawsuit was filed. (Decl. of Gideon Feiner ("Feiner
Decl."), Doc. No. 42-1, ¶ 2.)
alleges that Polymer infringed five of its patents by making,
using, importing, selling, and offering for sale the Accused
Products that "blatantly copy patented features"
of Rehrig's own reusable egg containers. (Id.
¶ 34-50.) Polymer US, unlike Rehrig, maintains its own
facilities that receive used egg containers from its
customers, wash the containers, and ship the sanitized
containers back to customers to be reused. (See
First Decl. of Nany Walsh ("First Walsh Decl."),
Doc. No. 19-2, ¶ 7.) Polymer U.S. maintains five wash
facilities in the United States, including one in Dublin,
Georgia and one in Riverside, California, which is its
"largest and busiest" facility. (Id.
Israel and Polymer U.S. are separate corporations, each
controlled by distinct boards of directors and executive
teams. (See First Decl. of Danit Cohen ("First
Cohen Decl."), Doc. No. 17-2, ¶¶ 9-15.)
Polymer Israel researched, developed, designed, and
manufactured the Accused Products in Israel. (Second Decl. of
Danit Cohen ("Second Cohen Decl."), Doc. No. 19-3,
¶¶ 2-3.) Polymer Israel sells the Accused Products
to Polymer U.S. in what each contends are arm's length
transactions. (First Cohen Decl. ¶ 15; Second Decl.
of Nancy Walsh ("Second Walsh Decl."), Doc. No.
17-3, ¶ 9.) Polymer U.S. then contracts with customers
in the United States to lease the Accused Products. (First
Walsh Decl. ¶ 2.) Polymer Israel does not control how,
where, and to whom Polymer U.S. distributes the Accused
Products. (Feiner Decl. ¶ 4.) Polymer Israel's CEO,
however, has visited California on multiple occasions to
assist Polymer US's business development, including
formulating sales and marketing strategies and attending
meetings with customers. (Id. ¶ 5.)
Rehrig amended its complaint, Polymer filed a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim (doc. no. 18) and a
motion to transfer venue (doc. no. 19) . Polymer Israel also
filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
with an alternative request to transfer the action to the
Central District of California in lieu of dismissing it from
the case. (Doc. No. 17.) Because the Court concludes that
transfer under Section 1404(a) is proper, as discussed below,
I will not take up the other two pending motions.
U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that "[f]or the
convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interests of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought." Consistent with the statute, a party moving
under Section 1404(a) to transfer venue must first show the
action could have been brought in the proposed transfer
forum. 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a); Aeroquip Corp. v.
Deutsch Co., 887 F.Supp. 293, 294 (S.D. Ga. 1995).
moving party must then prove that transfer will serve the
convenience of the parties and witnesses as well as the
interests of justice. See Internap Corp. v. Noction
Inc., 114 F.Supp.3d 1336, 1339 (N.D.Ga. 2015). Nine
factors guide the Court's analysis on this issue: (1) the
convenience of the witnesses; (2) the location of relevant
documents and the relative ease of access to sources of
proof; (3) the convenience of the parties; (4) the locus of
operative facts; (5) the availability of process to compel
the attendance of unwilling witnesses; (6) the relative means
of the parties; (7) a forum's familiarity with the
governing law; (8) the weight accorded to a plaintiff's
choice of forum; and (9) trial efficiency and the interests
of justice, based on the totality of the circumstances.
Id.; see also Manuel v. Convergys Corp.,
430 F.3d 1132, 1135 n.l (11th Cir. 2005).
district court is given wide discretion to "adjudicate
motions for transfer according to an individualized,
case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness."
Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29
(1988) (internal quotation omitted). However, a court may not
simply "shift inconvenience from the defendant to the
plaintiff." Internap, 114 F.Supp.3d at 1339.
moved under Section 1404 (a) to transfer this case from the
Southern District of Georgia to the United States District
Court for the Central District of California. (Doc. No. 19.)
In essence, Polymer contends the parties have a limited
connection to this District, California would be more
convenient for potential witnesses, and the facts underlying
the alleged infringement did not occur in this District.
The Transferee Forum
Court must first determine whether Rehrig could have brought
this action in the Central District of California. An action
may have been brought in a proposed transferee court if:
"(1) the court had jurisdiction over the subject matter
of the action; (2) venue is proper there; and (3) the
defendant is amenable to process issuing out of the
transferee court." Suomen Colorize Oy v. DISH
Network L.L.C., 801 F.Supp.2d 1334, 1337 (M.D. Fla.
obviously, the Central District of California would have
subject matter jurisdiction over this case the same as in
this Court because the cause of action, patent infringement,
arises under federal law. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1338.
The Central District of California would also have personal
jurisdiction over both Polymer entities. Polymer U.S.
maintains its "largest and busiest" wash facility
in Riverside, California and formerly maintained its
headquarters there. (First Walsh Decl. ¶ 8.) Polymer
US's CFO admits that the company has maintained a
physical presence in California since 2007. (Id.)
Israel, by its own admission, is also subject to personal
jurisdiction in California. Polymer Israel, incorporated and
headquartered in Israel, has limited contacts with the United
States, with no employees or offices in this country.
However, some of Polymer Israel's marketing and sales of
the Accused Products were conducted in California, providing
sufficient minimum contacts for the Central District of
California to have specific jurisdiction over Polymer Israel.
(See Feiner Decl. ¶ 5.) Moreover, until August
3, 2018, one week after Rehrig filed its complaint, Polymer
Israel was registered to do business in California.
(Id. ¶ 2.) Finally, although not determinative
in of itself, Polymer stated it will not challenge personal
jurisdiction or venue in the Central District of California.
(Defs.' Br. at 7 n.7.)
venue, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) requires patent suits to be
filed in the judicial district where either the defendant
resides or where the defendant has committed acts of
infringement and has a regular and established place of
business. Unlike other types of federal actions, patent
infringement cases require venue to be proper for each
individual defendant. See Stontite Prods. Co. v. Melvin
Lloyd Co., 315 U.S. 561, 567 (1942). Although Section
1400(b) is the exclusive provision controlling venue for
patent actions, the Supreme Court has held that "suits
against aliens are wholly outside the operation of all the
federal venue law, general and special." Brunette
Mach. Works Ltd. v. Kockum Indus., Inc., 406 ...