United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
SNI SOLUTIONS, INC. and NATURAL ALTERNATIVES, LLC, Plaintiffs,
UNIVAR USA, INC. and ROAD SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendants.
ORDER AND OPINION
E. Shadid United States District Judge.
before the Court are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss for
Improper Venue. Docs. 20, 22. Plaintiffs have filed Responses
(Docs. 26, 28), and the Court granted Defendants leave to
file Replies (Docs. 36, 37). For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' Motions are DENIED and this case is
transferred to the Southern District of Indiana pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1406.
control the license to a patent covering de-sugared beet
molasses for de-icing agents. Doc. 1, p. 4. On May 11, 2018,
Plaintiffs filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) in the Rock Island
Division of this District. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants
Univar USA, Inc. (“Univar”) and Road Solutions,
Inc. (“RSI”) infringed on the patent. Doc. 1, p.
2. On October 1, 2018, Defendants each filed a Motion to
Dismiss for improper venue (Docs. 20, 22). Pursuant to a
March 14, 2019 text order, the Court transferred this case
from the Rock Island Division to the Peoria Division because
the alleged acts of infringement occurred in Peoria, not Rock
parties agree that Univar is incorporated in Washington and
has headquarters in the Northern District of Illinois.
Id. Univar also has two locations in the Southern
District of Indiana. Doc. 27, Exh. G. RSI is incorporated in
Indiana and has headquarters in the Northern District of
Indiana. Doc. 1, p. 2. RSI also has a location in the
Southern District of Indiana. Doc. 29, p. 11. The parties
dispute whether Univar and RSI each have a regular and
established place of business in the Central District of
Illinois through a third party business partner. Doc. 27, p.
10; Doc. 29, p. 9; Doc. 36, p. 4; Doc. 37, p. 7.
Circuit precedent controls in patent cases. In re Cray
Inc., 871 F.3d 1355, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2017). This
includes the question of which party bears the burden of
establishing proper venue. In re ZTE (USA) Inc., 890
F.3d 1008, 1013 (Fed. Cir. 2018). In 2018, the Federal
Circuit determined that the plaintiff bears the burden of
persuasion on the propriety of venue in patent cases.
Id. In considering a motion to dismiss for improper
venue, a court accepts the allegations in the plaintiff's
complaint as true. Deb v. SIRVA, Inc., 832 F.3d 800,
809 (7th Cir. 2016). However, the court is not required to
accept the plaintiff's allegations as true once a
defendant submits affidavits or other evidence contradicting
specific venue allegations in a plaintiff's complaint.
Id. The court may look beyond the pleadings to
determine whether the chosen venue is appropriate.
Propriety of Venue
in patent cases is proper in the judicial district 1) where
the defendant resides or 2) where the defendant has committed
acts of infringement and has a regular and established place
of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). To reside in a
district, a defendant must be incorporated in the state
containing the district. TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods
Group Brands LLC, 137 S.Ct. 1514, 1517 (2017). Neither
Defendant is incorporated in Illinois. Therefore, the Court
finds that residency is not established in the District. The
Court now examines the second basis for venue according to
Acts of Infringement
defendant who makes, uses, sells, or offers to sell any
patented invention without authority commits an act of
infringement. 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). A defendant who
actively induces infringement of a patent also commits an act
of infringement. 35 U.S.C. § 271(b).
their Response to Univar's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs
allege that Univar committed an act of infringement in this
District by selling the infringing product through its
dealers and by actively inducing RSI to sell infringing
product in this District. Doc. 27, p. 8. In their Response to
RSI's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs allege that RSI
committed acts of infringement in this District by selling
the infringing product to customers in this District. Doc.
29, p. 7. Neither Defendant disputes these allegations in
their Replies (Docs. 36, 37). Therefore, the Court finds that
Plaintiffs met their burden of pleading that Defendants
committed acts of infringement in this District.
Regular and Established Place of Business ...