Judge blocks dynamic web patent troll's "forum shopping"

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Epicrealm forced to fight Oracle on foreign turf.

A Delaware judge has denied a request by Epicrealm to move its legal case against Oracle from a Delaware to an Eastern Texas court.

Epicrealm owns two patents covering dynamic websites and since 2005 has filed 13 lawsuits. One of the targeted firms was Safelite, a customer of Oracle's enterprise software, it demanded that Oracle footed its legal bill as part of its indemnification clause. Oracle is claiming that the patents should be invalidated.

Oracle filed its suit in Delaware, where Epicrealm is legally incorporated but has no offices or employees. Delaware is a popular business location because of state offered tax breaks. The company's main place of buinsess however is in the district in Northern Texas. Epicrealm asked that the case be move to Eastern Texas where its remaining patent cases are located.

The March 26th denial of that request is just a minor part in the legal jousting, but a victory for Oracle nonetheless. Courts in Eastern Texas have a track record of ruling in favour of patent owners.

In a legal filing, Epicrealm arged that "(a) the Eastern District, unlike the Northern District, has in place a detailed and effective set of local patent rules; (b) the judges in the Eastern District have a vast experience with patent litigation; and (c) the Eastern District provides a quick time to trial in patent cases".

Five of Epicrealm's witnesses furthermore won't be able to travel to Delaware: one of the inventors, one of its prosecuting attorneys, two of Epicrealm's former chief executive officers and the firm's general counsel.

Oracle referred to Epicrealm's request as "forum shopping". The request was an attempt to relocate to a court that benefited its legal strategy, but lacked any substantial benefits to the efficiency, expense and fairness of the case. The judge essentially agreed.

The alleged benefits of moving the case are non-existent, he argued in his ruling. He suggested that the company used video taped depositions for witnesses who are unable to attend the case in person.
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