United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, DISTRICT JUDGE
Color Technologies LLC has sued Adobe Systems Inc. for
infringement of four U.S. patents that RAH owns. All of the
patents are for systems "for distributing and
controlling color reproduction at multiple sites." RAH
has licensed the technology covered by its patents to
manufacturers of imaging equipment and providers of software
and services. It contends that Adobe makes and sells software
that employs color management techniques that infringe
various claims of the patents.
has moved to transfer the case to the Northern District of
California under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which provides
that "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in
the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any
civil action to any other district . . . where it might have
been brought[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). There is no
question that this suit "might have been brought"
in the proposed transferee district, as Adobe's
headquarters is located there and infringing activity is
alleged to have taken place there.
obtain a transfer under section 1404(a), Adobe must
demonstrate that the proposed transferee forum is
"clearly more convenient" than RAH's chosen
forum. Heller Fin., Inc. v. MidWhey Powder Co., 883
F.2d 1286, 1293 (7th Cir. 1989); Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron
Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219-20 (7th Cir. 1986).
"'Unless the balance is strongly in favor of the
defendant, the plaintiff's choice of forum should rarely
be disturbed.'" In re Nat'l Presto Indus.,
Inc., 347 F.3d 662, 664 (7th Cir. 2003) (quoting
Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508
(1947)). "Where the balance of convenience is a close
call, merely shifting inconvenience from one party to another
is not a sufficient basis for transfer." Research
Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc.,
626 F.3d 973, 978 (7th Cir. 2010).
Convenience of the parties and witnesses
evaluating the convenience of the parties and witnesses, a
court considers (1) the plaintiff's choice of forum, (2)
where events material to the lawsuit took place, (3) relative
ease of access to proof, (4) the parties' convenience,
and (5) the witnesses' convenience in litigating in the
respective forums. Amoco Oil Co. v. Mobil Oil Corp.,
90 F.Supp.2d 958, 960 (N.D. Ill. 2000); see also Research
Automation, 626 F.3d at 978.
Plaintiff's choice of forum
ordinarily give substantial weight to the plaintiff's
choice of a forum, particularly when it is the
plaintiff's home forum. See In re Nat'l Presto
Indus., 347 F.3d at 664 (plaintiff's choice
"should rarely be disturbed"); cf. Piper
Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255-56 (1981)
(common law forum non conveniens doctrine). The
plaintiff's choice of a forum, however, "has minimal
value where none of the conduct complained of occurred in the
forum selected by the plaintiff, " Chicago, Rock
Island & Pacific R.R. Co. v. Igoe, 220 F.2d
299, 304 (7th Cir. 1955) (internal quotation marks omitted),
at least in a case like Chicago, Rock Island, in
which the plaintiff sued outside her home forum.
not file this suit in its home forum. RAH has only one
office, located in Virginia, where its sole owner lives.
Because it sued outside its home forum, RAH's choice of
this district is entitled to minimal deference:
When the home forum has been chosen, it is reasonable to
assume that this choice is convenient. When the plaintiff is
foreign, however, this assumption is much less reasonable.
Because the central purpose of any forum non conveniens
inquiry is to ensure that the trial is convenient, a foreign
plaintiff's choice deserves less deference.
Piper Aircraft, 454 U.S. at 255-56.
Where events material to the lawsuit occurred
events underlying the litigation have no significant
relationship with this district. Infringement is claimed to
have occurred here, in that the alleged infringing products
are sold in this district and some training regarding use of
the products is alleged to have occurred here. But given the
products at issue, this does not differentiate this district
from any other federal district. See In re Acer Am.
Corp., 626 F.3d 1252, 1256 (Fed. Cir. 2010) ("[T]he
sale of an accused product offered nationwide does not give
rise to a substantial interest in any single venue.").
There is no basis to say that the degree of infringement in
this district is more significant than in other districts
generally, or in the proposed transferee district in
events of significance took place in this district. The
patented products and methods appear to have been developed
in locations other than this district. And the materials
provided by Adobe reflect that the accused products were
developed in the Northern District of California, the
proposed transferee ...