Los Angeles, CA – On the same day that Sony filed its patent infringement lawsuit in Los Angeles, Vizio’s patent attorneys won the race – by mere hours – to the courthouse in New Jersey and filed a declaratory judgment, Lanham Act unfair competition, and trade libel lawsuit. Vizio’s complaint seeks declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of twelve of Sony’s television related patents. In addition, Vizio alleges that Sony’s officer disparaged Vizio during a public conference call with financial analysts by referring to “low-end kind of VIZIO and Chinese manufacturer semi non-HD sets.” Complaint available here.
Sony filed a motion to transfer the case to Los Angeles, which motion was granted. Order available here. The Court found that the general rule that the first-to-file suit should take priority in venue is entitled to little priority in this case because Sony lost the race by mere hours. Further, the Court relied on the Federal Circuit’s recent ruling – which attempts to quell the race to the courthouse – by relying on “the more appropriate analysis [that] takes account of the convenience factors under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a),” instead of who won the race. Micron Tech., Inc. v. Mosaid Techs., Inc., 518 F.3d 897, 904 (Fed. Cir. 2008). The Court also considered the private interests of the litigants and the public interests in the fair and efficient administration of justice and found that “overall, this controversy appears to have little meaningful connection to New Jersey…Vizio’s corporate headquarters and principal place of business are in the Central District of California…Thus, Vizio’s forum selection is entitled to less deference.” As a result, the case was transferred to Los Angeles. The case is Vizio, Inc. v. Sony Corporation et al., CV09-02129 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2009).