Federal Circuit Denies Mandamus Regarding Venue Dispute With Remote Workers

| Kenneth K. WangKendall Loebbaka


Before Lourie, Chen, and Stark. Per Curiam, Lourie Dissenting. On Petition for Writ of Mandamus from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Summary: The Federal Circuit denies mandamus for a factual-laden dispute on whether remote work employees meet the requirement of a “regular and established place of business”

Bel Power Solutions Inc. (“Bel Power”) sued Monolithic in the Western District of Texas for patent infringement by selling power modules to original equipment manufacturers. Monolithic moved to dismiss or transfer for lack of venue, arguing that as a Delaware corporation, it does not reside in the Western District. Monolith further argued it does not own or lease any property in the district, and that the presence of four fulltime remote employees in the Western District is not sufficient to constitute a “regular and established place of business” under Section 1400(b).

Judge Albright denied the motion to transfer, finding that Monolith had a “regular and established place of business” under Section 1400(b), noting that (1) Monolith solicited employment in the Western District to serve local customers and (2) Monolith provided and stored property in the Western District at the homes of remote employees that was used to service Monolith customers in the Western District.

The Federal Circuit denied mandamus, holding that “the district court’s ruling does not involve the type of broad, fundamental, and recurring legal question or usurpation of judicial power that might warrant immediate mandamus review.”  Finding that venue analysis is necessarily a fact-specific inquiry, and that “this case may present an idiosyncratic set of facts,” the Federal Circuit held that Monolithic did not demonstrate the type of concerns to warrant granting mandamus review.  Judge Lourie dissented, reasoning the Federal Circuit should grant mandamus to prevent a threat of confusion regarding employee homes on the “regular and established place of business” requirement, particularly in view of the increased prevalence of remote work.

Editor: Paul Stewart