Plaintiff Cannot Take Back Venue Admission in Patent Infringement Action

December 27, 2016

Plaintiff Ecojet, Inc. ("Ecojet") brought a patent infringement action against Defendant Luraco, Inc. ("Luraco") for infringement of U.S. Patent No. RE45,844 ("the '844 Patent"). After the litigation was pending for several months, Luraco filed a Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Answer regarding venue.

In its motion, Luraco asserted that even though it "originally admitted that venue is proper in this district, it has since determined that venue is improper." The district court explained that "Luraco's argument seems to be tied to its request for re-examination of the '844 Patent, but the actual basis for venue being improper is unclear from its Motion."

Ecojet responded by asserting that under Ninth Circuit law, Luraco could deny allegations regarding venue that it previously had admitted.

The district court agreed with Luraco, finding that "Luraco cannot flip-flop on its original admission regarding venue. See Airs Aromatics, LLC v. Opinion Victoria's Secret Stores Brand Management, Inc., 744 F.3d 595, 600 (9th Cir. 2014) ('A party cannot amend pleadings to directly contradict an earlier assertion made in the same proceeding.') (internal quotations and citations omitted). Even if 'Luraco does not reside in the Central District of California' and 'has committed no acts of infringement in said district,' the Motion does not address why Luraco or its counsel would not have known this at the time the Answer was filed."

The district court also stated that "Luraco does not explain why it never attempted to amend the Answer during the 60-day period set forth in the Court's Scheduling Order."

Accordingly, the district court determined that Luraco's motion failed to show good cause for the amendment and the motion was denied.

Ecojet, Inc. v. Luraco, Inc.
, Case No. SACV 16-00487-AG-KES (C.D. Cal. Dec. 13, 2016)

The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.