process in Illinois. Moreover, recognizing the large disparity in potential witness travel costs to the parties, defendants have offered to pay the expenses for plaintiff's four Illinois witnesses to travel to California for trial.
Because defendants have a substantially greater number of witnesses who would be inconvenienced by travelling to Illinois for trial than plaintiff has of witnesses who would be inconvenienced by travelling to California for trial; because many of defendants' numerous witnesses may not be subject to subpoena in Illinois; and because the travel expenses for defendants' witnesses to attend trial in Illinois would be significantly higher than the travel expenses for plaintiff's witnesses to attend trial in California, the Northern District of California is clearly the more convenient forum with respect to the witnesses.
2. Situs of material events
Defendants also contend that transfer to the Northern District of California is proper because the situs of the material events is California, defendants' principal place of business. Defendants have established that none of the alleged infringing products was developed or manufactured in Illinois. (Patch Decl. PP 9, 14.) Rather, the majority of defendants' research and development facilities; some of their manufacturing facilities; and their corporate headquarters are in Northern California. (Id. PP 4, 9-16.) The court gives defendants' argument credence because patent infringement actions "often focus on the activities of the alleged infringer, its employees, and its documents," Habitat Wallpaper and Blinds, Inc. v. K. T. Scott Ltd. Partnership, 807 F. Supp. 470, 474 (N.D. Ill. 1992), and plaintiff has not demonstrated that that is not the case here. Thus, the court finds that the situs of the material events also weighs in favor of transferring this case to California.
3. Ease of access to sources of proof
Though neither party addresses the issue, it appears to the court that if California is the situs of material events and the location of most of the witnesses, then most of the evidence in this case can be found in California. Therefore, the Northern District of California likely is the more convenient forum with respect to the relative ease of access to sources of proof.
B. Interests of justice
The interest of justice factor "embraces traditional notions of judicial economy, rather than the private interests of the litigants and their witnesses." Applied Web Systems, Inc. v. Catalytic Combustion Corp., 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5696, No. 90 C 4411, 1991 WL 70893, *6 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 29, 1991) (citing Coffey, 796 F.2d at 221; Bally Mfg. Corp. v. Kane, 698 F. Supp. 734, 739 (N.D. Ill. 1988)). In analyzing this factor, the court considers such things as in which forum the litigants are likely to receive a speedier trial, and, in diversity cases, whether the court trying the case will be familiar with the applicable state law. Applied Web Systems, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5696, 1991 WL 70893, at *6 (citing Heller Financial, Inc. v. Midwhey Powder Co., 883 F.2d 1286, 1293 (7th Cir. 1989); Coffey, 796 F.2d at 221).
Patent infringement is a question of federal law, a question that both this court and the Northern District of California are equally competent to hear. As for speed to disposition, the most recent statistics regarding judicial caseload indicate that parties in the Northern District of California are not much better off than parties in the Northern District of Illinois, with respect to how quickly the court will dispose of or try their cases. In the Northern District of California, the median time from the filing of a civil case to its disposition is five months, and from filing to trial, 27 months. STATISTICS DIV., ADMIN. OFFICE OF THE U.S. COURTS, 1995 FED. CT. MGMT. STAT. 127 (1996). In the Northern District of Illinois, the median time from the filing of a civil case to its disposition is seven months, and from filing to trial, 25 months. Id. at 101. Based on these statistics, while a case may be disposed of by motion more quickly in the Northern District of California than it would be in the Northern District of Illinois, it will proceed to trial more quickly in Illinois than in California. In short, the interest of justice analysis is essentially neutral; that is, it is not markedly more economic or efficient to have the instant case transferred to the Northern District of California than it is to have it proceed in the Northern District of Illinois.
Because defendants have demonstrated that the location of witnesses and situs of material events, and consequently, the relative ease of access to sources of proof, make the Northern District of California clearly the more convenient forum for litigating this case, the court grants defendants' motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). This case is transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.
Date: FEB 11 1997
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge
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