1995). Public interest factors include the court's familiarity
with applicable law and the desirability of resolving
controversies in their locale. Id.
A. Plaintiff's Choice of Forum
Although Anchor filed suit in the Northern District,
plaintiff's choice of forum has diminished in significance since
the enactment of § 1404(a). Ardco, Inc. v. Page, Ricker, Felson
Marketing, 1992 WL 246862, at *6 (N.D.Ill. Sept.23, 1992)
(citing Ratner v. Hecht, 621 F. Supp. 378, 382 (N.D.Ill. 1985)).
Where, as here, the plaintiff is not a resident of the forum
district, this factor is merely another factor in the mix and is
given no additional weight. H.B. Sherman Mfg. Co. v. Rain Bird
Nat'l Sales Corp., 979 F. Supp. 627, 630 (N.D.Ill. 1997).
The weight accorded plaintiff's choice of forum is further
lessened if the chosen forum lacks any significant connection to
the claim. Greene Mfg. Co. v. Marquette Tool & Die Co., 1998 WL
395155, at *2 (N.D.Ill. July 9, 1998). Sales alone are
insufficient to establish a substantial connection to the forum
if the defendant's goods are sold in many states. Id. In this
case, the Northern District has relatively weak connections with
the operative facts giving rise to the claim, as only a small
percentage of the alleged infringing items were sold here. The
majority of the operative events surrounding the alleged
infringement occurred in the Central District where R & D
designed, manufactured, stored and sold the masonry blocks.
Accordingly, little weight is afforded to Anchor's choice of
forum in this case.
B. Situs of Material Events
We find that all of the central facts surrounding this patent
infringement dispute relate to activities which took place in the
Central District, not the Northern District. R & D designed,
manufactured, stored, and sold the alleged infringing masonry
blocks in Rock Island. Conversely, only limited sales activities
actually occurred in this district. Because there is little
connection between this district and the litigation, the situs of
material events factor favors transfer to the Central District.
C. Convenience of the Witnesses
In assessing the convenience of the witnesses, we must
determine the relative ease of access to sources of proof in each
forum. Anchor argues that the Northern District is more
convenient for its key witnesses because several of its witnesses
are employees of Northfield Block Company ("Northfield"), an
Anchor licensee, which is located in this district. Anchor also
contends that Chicago is a more convenient travel destination for
its out-of-state party and non-party witnesses.
The Court does not accord much weight to Anchor's argument that
its witnesses will be inconvenienced. It is assumed that the
witnesses in control of the party calling them will appear
voluntarily. Greene Mfg. Co., 1998 WL 395155, at *3. Based on
the intimate business relationship between Anchor and Northfield,
the Court assumes that Northfield's employees will appear
voluntarily at either forum. Anchor's own employees will be
required to travel to Illinois from Minnesota whether the action
is transferred or retained. Traveling to the Central District
does not increase the burden on these witnesses, as neither their
travel costs nor travel time are increased substantially.
The convenience of the plaintiff's non-party witnesses is often
viewed as the most important factor in the transfer analysis.
Greene Mfg. Co., 1998 WL 395155, at *3. Yet, if third party
witnesses are found in neither the transferee nor transferor
forum they are less significant to the court's inquiry because
neither choice of venue would afford the parties greater subpoena
power. F & G Scrolling Mouse, L.L.C. v. IBM Corp., 1999 WL
311700, at *4 (N.D.Ill. May 13, 1999). Such is the case here —
Anchor's indispensable non-party
witnesses, including a few of its former employees and the named
inventor on the patent, reside beyond the subpoena power of
either forum so their convenience is not afforded much weight.
Against this, we note that all of R & D's officers and key
personnel — including its president, who designed the alleged
infringing masonry blocks and determined that R & D would sell
them; its vice-president, who is the plant manager; and its plant
supervisor — work and reside in or around Rock Island. R & D
claims that it would be a great inconvenience to litigate in
Chicago because the absence of these three employees during
litigation will greatly interfere with its plant's operations.
Additionally, the cost of transportation, hotel accommodations,
and restaurant meals would be unduly burdensome. Because a
transfer would minimize disruption of its plant's operations and
eliminate all of its travel expenses, without significantly
increasing the burden on the patentee, the Court concludes that
the overall convenience of the witnesses will be increased by a
transfer of this lawsuit to the Central District of Illinois.
D. Convenience of the Parties
This factor also weighs heavily in favor of a transfer. In a
patent infringement case "practicality and convenience are best
served when [it] is prosecuted where the alleged acts of
infringement occurred and the defendant has a regular and
established place of business so as to facilitate the production
and investigation of books, records and other data necessary to
the discovery and trial techniques employed in the patent filed."
Ardco, Inc., 1992 WL 246862, at *4 (quoting Spound v. Action
Indus., Inc., 369 F. Supp. 1066, 1069 (N.D.Ill. 1974)). Anchor
has not pointed to any documentary evidence to be gathered in
this district in support of its claim. In this case the sources
of proof are located primarily in the Central District. All of R
& D's documents, including drawings, financial records, and sales
records related to the alleged infringement are located in Rock
In contrast, Anchor's only connection within this forum is the
location of its licensee, Northfield. Anchor itself does not
reside here and will be litigating the case in a remote location
regardless of whether venue is transferred or retained.
Therefore, the Court easily concludes that the overall
convenience of the parties supports a transfer of this lawsuit to
the Central District of Illinois.
E. Interest of Justice
The final factor is whether a change of venue would serve the
interests of justice. This factor considers the efficient
administration of the court system, rather than the private
interests of the litigants. Avery Dennison Corp., 42 U.S.P.Q.2d
at 1089. Public interest factors include the Court's familiarity
with applicable law and the desirability of resolving
controversies in their locale. Id. Both forums are equally
familiar with the federal patent law applicable to this case.
However, because the plaintiff's action has no significant
connection to this forum, the interest of justice would be better
served by transferring the action to the Central District where
the situs of material events occurred.
For the foregoing reasons, R & D's motion for a change of venue
is granted. An analysis of the relevant factors requires that
this case be tried in the Central District of Illinois, Rock
Island Division. The Court directs the Clerk of the Court to
grant defendant's motion for change of venue, and to transfer
this case to the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island
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