Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SNI Solutions, Inc. v. Univar USA, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

July 23, 2019

SNI SOLUTIONS, INC. and NATURAL ALTERNATIVES, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNIVAR USA, INC. and ROAD SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          James E. Shadid United States District Judge.

         Now 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs 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 Island.

         The 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.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal 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. Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Propriety of Venue

         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 the statute.

         1. Acts of Infringement

         A 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).

         In 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.

         2. Regular and Established Place of Business ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.