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Texas judge sends patent case to Virginia, sua sponte

Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant asked to try their case in the Old Dominion, but a Texas judge ruled Monday that a patent infringement fight belonged in Virginia because the patent inventor lives in Alexandria.

The ruling appears to have come as a surprise to the lawyers involved in the case, reports Reuters.

Magistrate Judge Roy Payne in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas ruled a 2012 lawsuit against media company Meredith Corp by Dietgoal Innovations of Austin, Texas, should proceed in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Meredith, which is based in Iowa but has offices in Manhattan, had requested a transfer to the Southern District of New York. Dietgoal, which has filed more than a dozen cases accusing defendants of infringing a patent related to nutritional planning, had opposed transferring the case out of the court in Marshall, Texas, the opinion said.

The Meredith case was not the first piece of litigation filed by Dietgoal in the Eastern District of Texas court to be transferred to Virginia. Virginia’s well known “rocket docket” ensures cases are heard relatively quickly.

In his order in the Meredith case, Judge Payne noted that at least three other cases have been moved to the Virginia court.

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