Federal Circuit Allows Patent Jury Trial to Proceed in Waco, Denying Mandamus Relief

Yesterday, the Federal Circuit denied Intel’s latest petition for writ of mandamus, declining to vacate Judge Albright’s December 31 Order re-transferring Case No. 6:19-cv-254 (now Case No. 6:21-cv-57) back to Waco from Austin (See previous post detailing Intel’s petition HERE). Thus, VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corp. appears to be headed to a jury in the Waco Division on February 16.

The three-judge panel consisting of Chief Judge Prost, and Circuit Judges Lourie and Chen (the same panel that granted Intel’s first mandamus petition in this case – see previous post HERE), stated that the district court took “into account the relevant traditional transfer factors” to conclude that “unanticipated post-transfer events frustrated the original purpose for transfer of the case from Waco to Austin originally” and thus “re-transfer to Waco was warranted.” The panel noted that it “will not second guess a district court’s determinations ‘as long as there is plausible support in the record for that conclusion.'” Although the panel noted that “we may have evaluated these factors and the parties’ arguments differently, we are unable to say that the district court’s conclusion amounts to a clear abuse of discretion.”

The ripple effect of this order remains to be seen, but it would not be surprising (especially in cases previously transferred from Waco to Austin that are set for trial in the next few months) to see more motions to transfer from Austin back to Waco for convenience as long as the Austin courthouse remains closed due to COVID.